Future bright for Dwight?

Last updated : 21 July 2014 By Matthew Roche
As pre-season approaches thoughts inevitably turn to Crystal Palace's first game away to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. Of all the players, the one anticipating this day more than any will be Palace's Dwight Gayle.
Released as a 12 year-old by Arsenal for 'being too small', Gayle has spent the last three years rising within the football league ranks from non-league Stanstead FC right up to his signing for Palace on 3rd July 2013.
Gayle was Palace's 'marquee signing' in 2013, making the move from Peterborough for an estimated £6 million, and has shown moments of brilliance over the last season clinching some vital goals including the last minute winner away to Aston Villa and a dramatic double to end Liverpool's title hopes.

Last season Gayle often found himself second choice to the more experienced Chamakh and Cameron Jerome. However, after scoring 5 goals in a reserve game and a double off the bench against Liverpool, he was given the nod to start in the last game of the season against Fulham. An instinctive shot and pinpoint free kick helped secure a point for Palace and a double for Gayle making him Palace's top goalscorer this season with 8 goals in all competitions.

Manager Tony Pulis describes the transformation he has witnessed in Gayle since he took over in November, "When I first came into the club he looked as if he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. We've spent a lot of time working with him and opening him up as a person and as a player. He looks, or he is, a very, very good goalscorer. A good pre-season and I would expect Gayley to give us a good return next year."

The squad will head to Austria on July 14th and then to America in preparation for the new season. Gayle will be looking to carry his impressive form into the pre-season as he aims to front Palace's attack next season.