Woosie's Words: Dwight Gayle - the boy will score goals
Ian Holloway this week defended club record signing Dwight Gayle after his miss against Manchester United.
Palace boss Ian Holloway is a huge admirer of the young forward, and told the press that he “believes in Dwight totally”.
The former Peterborough forward showed quality and the need to work on areas of his game during the 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford.
Moving away from England defender Rio Ferdinand having anticipated the ball arriving, Gayle took a delightful touch to take the ball past Ferdinand and put himself clean through on goal at a narrow angle.
Trying to chip David de Gea in the United goal he lofted the ball over the keeper but the wrong side of the post.
Gayle is a young player who only a year ago was still plying his trade in League Two.
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There are many players who have taken time to adapt to the Premier League having starred at Championship level, take Luciano Becchio for example.
The former Leeds striker has barely featured for Norwich despite notching a goal approximately every 135 minutes for The Whites.
Yet Gayle showed while at Peterborough that it is not simply an ability to put the ball in the back of the net that marks his talent out.
The 23-year-old is superb with his left foot, his right foot and his head, something Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony commented upon.
Furthermore, this was exemplified in recent games Palace, in particular against Stoke and Sunderland.
Gayle received the ball on the edge of the Stoke area, and instead of taking a touch and bringing it down, he fired a ferocious volley across goal with outstanding technique.
During the match with Tottenham, Gayle made a dangerous run which concluded with a left footed shot but he could not quite hit the target, sending the ball narrowly over Hugo Lloris’ goal.
Players need to be given time to adapt to new formations, new tactics, new environments and team-mates.
Gayle has barely played in the Football League, and never in the Premier League.
In addition, he is not playing as an outright striker, with Holloway preferring him on the left of three behind the target man.
There is constructive criticism that can be levelled at him, which hopefully will improve his game, but overall Gayle needs time and nurturing.
To expect a lot of him in only his second full season as a professional footballer is naive, and it is evident that Palace bought him as a long-term project, as well as seeking to gain from his abilities in the short term.
The boy will score goals, make assists and contribute more to the team over the season if the management are patient.
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