Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECS to 80360, or email »
Spillane backs Palace new boy Gayle to play in World Cup
Maldon and Tiptree boss Terry Spillane believes former protege Dwight Gayle will play for England at next year’s World Cup.
The Park Drive chief gave Crystal Palace’s new £8.5 million signing his first taste of men’s football during their time together at Essex Senior League Stansted.
And he admitted being a proud man after watching Gayle make his Barclays Premier League debut on Sunday, playing all 90 minutes of the Eagles’ curtain-raiser against Tottenham Hotspur.
Now Spillane believes Gayle can take the English game by storm and book his place on the plane for next summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
“I know I’m biased and that people will laugh when they read my comments, but I always said Dwight would play in the Premier League,” said the Maldon boss.
“I’ve seen him at close hand and know what a goal machine he is, scoring with headers and shots ranging from three yards to 30 yards.
“He’s hungry, cool, calm and collected.
“What’s happened to him in three years is unbelievable and I honestly think he’ll go on to play for England at the World Cup.
“I’d put money on it.
“I wouldn’t say that lightly but I love the kid and have such faith in his ability.
“He’s a really good footballer and a natural goal-scorer – something we haven’t got in his country at the moment.”
After plundering 57 goals for Spillane’s Stansted in the 2010-11 season, Gayle signed for Dagenham & Redbridge.
He was immediately sent out on loan to Bishop’s Stortford, where he smashed 42 goals, before joining Peterborough United.
Palace then swooped for his services at the start of July, offering him a four-year deal that is thought to eventually be worth £8.5 million.
He and Spillane are still in regular contact and he phoned the Maldon boss on Sunday morning, hours before his Premier League debut.
Meanwhile, Spillane has admitted being disappointed after striker Leon McKenzie left for Ryman Premier side East Thurrock.
He said only last week what a “top-drawer” signing the striker was.
“Leon’s a friend of mine and, in my heart, I knew it was only a short-term arrangement,” said the Maldon boss.
“I thought he might stay for a month or so but another club from higher up the pyramid were always going to come in for him.
“I can’t blame him for leaving, because he’s been offered a really good deal.”
Comments are closed on this article.