The Magpies’s £10m buy from Crystal Palace will lead the Toon attack in their Championship opener against Fulham at Craven Cottage tonight.
And his manager expects Gayle, who scored 26 goals in 74 games for Palace, to do justice to the shirt famously worn by Geordie legends Jackie Milburn, Malcolm Macdonald and record goalscorer Alan Shearer.
“It will be impossible for him to do what Shearer did with the No. 9 but if he can get close in a couple of years, then fantastic,” said the Spaniard.
Benitez was planning to organise a shooting contest between Gayle, 25, and his main rival Aleksandar Mitrovic with the winner being awarded the coveted shirt before the two strikers took matters into their own hands.
“It was going to be a competition between him and Mitro but in the end, they decided themselves.
“Mitro told him “don’t worry, you take the shirt.”
“But both will be important for us. I want to see the two of them scoring goals.