Who is Newcastle United's player of the season so far?

Newcastle United's Dwight Gayle celebrates with teammates after he scores his sides fourth goal completing his hat trick

Newcastle United unsurprisingly have a number of contenders for player of the season following their brilliant year in the Championship.

Newcastle United's Yoan Gouffran celebrates scoring their first goal

Undoubtedly, picking Newcastle United's player of the season this year will be an extremely difficult call with a number of players staking a claim throughout the campaign and playing a crucial role in what looks set to be a promotion-winning season for the Magpies.

But while the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Ciaran Clark and Jamaal Lascelles may be mentioned numerous times in the discussion, the man who has arguably played the greatest role in the Magpies' campaign is Dwight Gayle.

Arriving at a club where only promotion was going to be good enough this year, and for a fee of £10 million (via BBC Sport) at that, there was unquestionably a huge amount of pressure on Gayle's shoulders following the switch from Crystal Palace.

But he has risen to the challenge superbly well and boasts a sensational strike-rate for Rafael Benitez's men, having scored 21 in just 28 Championship games, of which he has started just 23. 

And those goals have unsurprisingly frequently come at crucial times for Newcastle. For example, he has scored the winners against Bristol City, Norwich, Brentford, Barnsley, Leeds and Nottingham Forest as well as bagging goals in five other victories.

Newcastle United's Dwight Gayle celebrates scoring their first goal

Of course, the players around him deserve a huge amount of credit also for often putting the chances on a plate for him, but he has still shown a tremendous of quality and versatility to take advantage of the openings.

It may be argued that some players within the squad are more talented, but there can surely be no question that Gayle's form will be earmarked as a key factor if Newcastle secure promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. 

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