The pivotal role this Newcastle United man is playing behind the scenes - despite being out the team

It’s been almost a year since Dwight Gayle last started a Premier League game for Newcastle United.

Eddie Howe has revealed the pivotal role Dwight Gayle is playing behind the scenes - despite his distinct lack of playing time.

Gayle is practically a forgotten man at Newcastle United, with the striker tasting just 29 minutes of Premier League football all season.

Indeed, only eight of those minutes have come under Howe, who has opted for Callum Wilson and now January signing Chris Wood ahead of Gayle.

However, the 31-year-old’s attitude cannot be questioned, not least after Jamaal Lascelles’ revelation this week.

The Magpies captain revealed how Gayle is currently top of the club’s training leaderboard, which is designed to make sessions more fun and competitive.

"Dwight’s been very, very good in his training performances and, quite rightly, deserves some sort of recognition from me.

“He’s someone that I respect greatly, he’s a real leader of the group. Behind the scenes, his training performances and professionalism have been of the highest level.”

Certainly, Howe’s methods are rubbing off on Gayle, who is awaiting his first top-flight start since April 11.

Howe has told the former Crystal Palace man to be ready for his opportunity.

"He’s an incredible finisher,” Howe continued. “I would say that he is one of the best finishers I’ve ever worked with, without a doubt. He just needs to be ready for his moment, for his chance, because I firmly believe it’ll come.

“I trust Dwight and I firmly believe on the pitch he will deliver whatever I ask him to deliver, I know he’ll commit to that.

"You have your guys who are playing, but then you have your guys who aren’t playing but behind the scenes are so important to the culture and to the feel of the group. Dwight’s been pivotal in keeping that very, very positive and he’s been a big reason behind why the team is doing so well in my opinion.”