Quinn urges Benitez to start this Newcastle striker against Man United

Former Mag and Talksport presenter Mick Quinn looks on before the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Newcastle United at Villa Park on May 7, 2016 in Birmingham, United...

Rafa Benitez's choice of striker to lead the Newcastle attack has been a topic of debate for much of the season.

Jim Crowley with trainer Mick Quinn at Nottingham racecourse as he rides at a double meeting at Nottingham and Kempton evening meeting on October 12, 2016 in Nottingham, England.

Mick Quinn has told the Evening Chronicle that Rafa Benitez must start Dwight Gayle as Newcastle United's attacking spearhead against Manchester United on Saturday.

The Toon's lack of Premier League goals is a cause for concern among Magpies fans after two successive defeats to Burnley and Bournemouth, which has left them in eleventh place and only five points above the relegation zone.

Scoring just 10 goals in 11 Premier League outings, Newcastle desperately need a new attacking source with summer signing Joselu failing to make an impact on Tyneside - scoring just two goals this season.

Joselu of Newcastle United and Harry Arter of AFC Bournemouth battle for possession during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and AFC Bournemouth at St. James Park on...

Toon icon Quinn, who is also a well-respected pundit, claimed Gayle's hunger has returned in recent weeks and stated that the tenacious attacker is the best finisher in Newcastle's squad, before declaring Aleksander Mitrovic still has much to prove.

"It is time for Gayle to get a bit of a run in the Newcastle XI in my opinion, starting against Man United," Quinn said. "Gayle didn’t start the season in any sort of form whatsoever, but his hunger has returned and I think he’s starting to look sharper.

"His full match fitness will only return once he is playing week-in, week-out though - and I still believe he is the best finisher in that Newcastle squad.

"As for Mitrovic, well I’d have him on the bench, but he still has to do a heck of a lot more to prove to me that he deserves a place in the team."

Dwight Gayle and Mohamed Diame of Newcastle United arrive prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and AFC Bournemouth at St. James Park on November 4, 2017 in Newcastle...

Gayle, 27, joined Newcastle in the summer of 2016 and took up the iconic number nine shirt once worn by Quinn. His goals last season, 23 of them in 32 Championship games, fired Newcastle towards an instant Premier League return.

Now, the Toon need him to reignite that form more than ever at Old Trafford, in what is expected to be a difficult test for Benitez's men as he goes face to face with Jose Mourinho.

An unlikely three points and a fifth league win of the season could see Newcastle go eighth, if Brighton, Watford and Huddersfield all drop points.

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