Dwight Gayle’s determined to lead the line for Newcastle United in the Premier League.
Gayle scored both goals in last night’s 2-1 win over Heart of Midlothian at Tynecastle.
The striker – who scored 23 goals in the Championship last season – knows that Rafa Benitez is looking to sign another forward this summer.
But Gayle, the club’s No 9, is confident he can pick up where he left off when the new Premier League campaign kicks off on August 13.
“I want to play as much as I can,” said Gayle, who has played in the top flight with Crystal Palace.
“But I know the clubs needs to bring in the new players to pull everyone in the right direction, because it will give everyone a boost we need.
“I’m all for new signings. I’m just looking forward to the new season.
“There is pressure that comes with the shirt. I know what I have to do.
“I will rely on the other lads helping me out. I rely on balls behind. We have quality in the team. Even last season I had a point to prove, this will be no different.”
Gayle was happy to get off the mark in the friendly.
The striker opened the scoring in the third minute with a neat finish after he was played in by Siem de Jong.
Hearts missed a penalty before levelling through Jamie Walker. But Gayle got Newcastle back in front in the 24th minute when he headed a Jonjo Shelvey corner past Jack Hamilton.
“I was happy to get started,” said the 26-year-old. “The fitness is the most important thing, and to get through it without injuries is a plus, now we look forward to the next few games.
“I wouldn’t say I feel sharp. I don’t think any training prepares you for games.
“We need to keep going and get ready for the new season. We need to play as much football as we can.”
United manager Benitez will take his players to Ireland for a week-long training camp tomorrow.
And Gayle knows he and his team-mates have a lot of work ahead of them.
“Getting promoted last season was what we all wanted,” he said. “Now we need to go out prove we can handle it and play as much as we can at that level.
“We have a great team spirt and the boys will build on that in Ireland next week. We are going to go for it and see what we can do.”
HEART OF MIDLOTHIAN: Hamilton, Smith, Smith-Brown, Nowak, Hughes, Berra, Walker, Buaben, Stockton, Cowie, Goncalves.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Elliot (Woodman, 63), Clark (Dummett, 46), Lascelles (Lejeune, 46), Mbemba (Hanley, 62), Haidara (Colback, 62), Aarons (Gamez, 46), Shelvey (Saivet, 46), Diame (Armstrong, 62), Atsu (Perez, 46), De Jong (Lazaar, 75), Gayle (Mitrovic, 46).
Goals: Gayle 3, 24, Walker 20
Referee: William Collum (Glasgow) Attendance: 10,001 (1,468 Newcastle)