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Prem cult hero wakes up unemployed as EFL club release him days after promotion

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PREMIER LEAGUE cult hero Dwight Gayle has become a free agent after being released by Derby.

Gayle, now 34, has been let go by the Rams after they unveiled their released players list for the end of the season.

Former Crystal Palace ace Dwight Gayle is a free agent

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Former Crystal Palace ace Dwight Gayle is a free agentCredit: PA:Press Association
Gayle helped fire Derby to promotion to the Championship

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Gayle helped fire Derby to promotion to the ChampionshipCredit: Getty

The former Crystal Palace ace is one of six players departing the promoted League One side.

Gayle joined Derby in late February as a solution to the club’s attacking injury crisis at the time after leaving Stoke at the start of the month.

He then made six appearances for Paul Warne’s side, scoring three goals in consecutive matches and adding one assist.

However, a hamstring injury cut short his purple patch.

And it has now been announced Derby will not retain him for their return to the Championship.

Along with Gayle, Conor Hourihane, Scott Loach, Korey Smith, Martyn Waghorn and Joe Wildsmith have also been released.

A statement from the club said: “Derby County wishes to thank every departing player for their contributions throughout their respective periods at the club, including playing their part in the memorable achievement of the club securing promotion back to the Championship in the 2023/24 season, as well as wishing them the very best of luck in the future.”

Gayle is perhaps best known to Premier League football fans for his time at Newcastle and Crystal Palace.

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His release comes a full decade on from the famous “Crystanbul” comeback for Palace against Liverpool.

He had a significant say in the 2013/14 title race as he scored twice against the Reds at Selhurst Park in May that saw the game end in a 3-3 draw and saw Liverpool lose significant ground in the title race.

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In total, Gayle scored 25 goals in 74 games for the south London side and also scored 34 goals in 122 games for Newcastle.

From 145 games in the top flight Gayle scored 26 goals and added 7 assists.

Gayle proved to be far more prolific in the Championship, scoring 62 goals and adding 21 assists in 145 games for clubs including the Magpies, Stoke, West Brom and Peterborough.

His 23 goals in the 2016/17 season fired Newcastle to the Championship title that season.

Gayle also fired Newcastle to Premier League promotion in 2016/17

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Gayle also fired Newcastle to Premier League promotion in 2016/17Credit: PA:Press Association

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