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Speed's former clubs join forces to pay fitting tribute

Leeds United 0 Newcastle United 2

By Mark Walker

Newcastle United and Leeds United fans rose to pay tribute to Gary Speed in a spine-tingling tribute at a sold-out Elland Road yesterday.

The players wore Speed's number 11 on the back of their shirts for the warm-up and the programme had tributes to Speed, who died at the age of 42 five years ago this month.

The former Wales international was an icon at both Leeds and Newcastle, amassing over 500 appearances combined for the two clubs, and the 11th minute of yesterday's Sky Bet Championship encounter saw supporters across the ground take to their feet in memory of the 85-times capped Wales international.

In the game itself, Magpies boss Rafael Benitez was rewarded for recalling two-goal striker Dwight Gayle to his starting line-up. Gayle scored in either half to lift Newcastle five points clear at the top of the table after a club record-equalling ninth straight win in all competitions.

Former Crystal Palace forward Gayle (26), a £10m signing, took his goals tally for the season to 13 two days after it was reported he had been punched unconscious during a night out in Liverpool last week while celebrating team-mate Jamal Lascelles' birthday.

"It's quite difficult for me to decide whether I play Mitrovic or him because they're both training really well," Benitez said.

"Dwight was training with us and not with the national team like Mitrovic, so it's always an advantage.

"But Mitrovic is training really well and it was a great goal (for Serbia) against Wales."

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