From carpenter to a Posh lad is a dream come true for Gayle
Striker Dwight Gayle, on loan for Dagenham & Redbridge to Peterborough, has enjoyed a whirlwind rise up the football pyramid.
Eighteen months ago Dwight Gayle was a carpenter by trade and a part-time footballer.
He was playing for non-league Stansted and helping them to the Essex Senior League title.
But fast-forward to Saturday and he came off the bench for Peterborough United in their 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town in the Championship before his first start in a 2-0 loss at Charlton to cap a whirlwind time in the life of the 23-year-old.
And the striker admitted he has to pinch himself to realise just how quickly the transformation has come, after joining Posh on loan from Dagenham last week.
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“It has taken me by surprise the whole situation,” said Gayle. “I have to pinch myself as to how quickly this has all come about.
“I have to thank Dagenham an awful lot for allowing me this opportunity to test myself at the highest level.
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“Before all this I was working as a carpenter in London and look at me now, playing Championship football.
“I used to have to start work at 5 o’clock in the morning most days, but now through the football I no longer have to do that.
“You have to be up for training, but never as early as that.”
Gayle was released at the age of 12 by Arsenal for being too small and is now just one step in the football pyramid below the Gunners.
And the striker believes he has started to prove his critics wrong, though he knows there is a long way to go if he ever wants to fill that gap further.
“Arsenal let me go because of my height when I was 12, but now I am just a level below them, so in a way I have proved them wrong,” he said.
“I have had to work hard at it, but I have proved myself, but I’ll have to keep on proving myself if I want to make the big time.”
Before starring for Stansted, Gayle, in his own words was, “messing around and having a kick-about with mates” on a Saturday afternoon before then-Stansted boss Terry Spillane – whose nephew is current Daggers midfielder Michael Spillane – gave him a route back into football.
And the striker owes Spillane an awful lot.
“After being released by Arsenal I was just playing some Saturday games, messing around with my mates having a kick-about until I was 19 when I got my chance at Stansted,” he added.
“My managers at Stansted, Terry Spillane and Dave Bricknell, are owed a lot for my development. It is a massive chance for me at Peterborough and hopefully I can prove myself.”