• First-choice forward has trained all week after not featuring in final two pre-season friendlies.
  • Rafael Benitez says club are "progressing" with transfers amid links to Kenedy and Lucas Perez.
  • Spaniard also addressed Jack Colback's future after reports that he would not make 25-man squad.

Newcastle United striker Dwight Gayle has been declared fit and available for Sunday's (13 August) 2017-18 Premier League opener against Tottenham Hotspur at St James' Park.

The 27-year-old, whose 23 Championship goals were vital to helping the Toon bounce back to the top-flight at the first attempt, did not feature during last weekend's final pre-season friendly against Hellas Verona. He was also left as an unused substitute in a 3-1 win over Wolfsburg.

Gayle missed several matches with hamstring complaints in 2016-17, although Rafael Benitez has been quick to stress that it is not a repeat of those issues but more a "feeling" of lingering discomfort that has left Newcastle not wanting to take any risks.

Benitez initially expressed hope that his first-choice forward would be ready to face Spurs, provided he continued to train with the fitness coach throughout the week and regained a sense of confidence in his ability to sprint without issue.

Providing a further update during a pre-match press conference held on Friday, the manager confirmed that Gayle had indeed trained without further problems and was eligible for selection. Although legitimate questions still persist over the former Crystal Palace frontman's Premier League pedigree, his availability is important with Aleksandar Mitrovic the only viable like-for-like replacement in the current squad.

Benitez also remained coy on Newcastle's reported talks over a season-long loan deal for Kenedy, the controversial Brazilian winger who was sent home from Chelsea's pre-season tour of the Far East last month after two ill-advised social media posts that caused uproar in China.

"We are progressing with some targets, he might be one of them," said the Spaniard, who added that he could "say nothing" for now regarding the club's pursuit of disgruntled Arsenal striker Lucas Perez.

Transfer update

Newcastle's immediate return to the promised land has been overshadowed by ongoing transfer friction between the board and management, with Benitez this week ruing mistakes made earlier in the window and openly admitting that he was not happy with the business done so far but allaying ongoing fears that he could be set to quit his post.

"It's complicated," he was quoted as saying by The Chronicle on Friday. "We had our targets in May and momentum was there. The fans were so excited. But we can't do anything - we are where we are. I can't answer (how many players I want). We are working on names and targets but we have too many players. We don't need to sell to buy."

Benitez reiterated his "100%" commitment to Newcastle and also addressed Jack Colback's future following reports that the ex-Sunderland midfielder was set to be a surprising omission from his 25-man Premier League squad.

"I talk with my players individually, privately, and I am telling them what I think, my opinion, and after it depends on each one" he said. "But at the moment he's a player of the squad."

On the decision to retain Jamaal Lascelles as captain, Benitez said the centre-back "has the mentality and passion that you are looking for in any player, and is helping the new players to settle down".

Dwight Gayle
Newcastle striker Dwight Gayle will play against Tottenham on Sunday