The private life and times of Obafemi Martins is probably causing some concern to Sam Allardyce as he understands that an unsettled player â€“ for whatever reason â€“ rarely can give of his best. We feel that Sam has a job to do with Martins â€“ who we point out – is still only 22 years old.
Sam must somehow get Oba to stop his habit in the last six months of failing to turn up for games.
Even though Oba denies thatÂ happened on the last game of the season against Watford â€“ he has nevertheless had two occasions this year when there was at best â€“ miscommunication between him and the Nigeria squad â€“ in that he didn’t show up when he was expected to.
It also looksÂ likeÂ the first time he missed playing for Nigeria early this year may have led to an assassination attempt on his life last Monday evening in Lagos, Nigeria â€“ where Oba has a luxury apartment. That alone has to be causing Sam a little heartburn.
However â€“ the good news is that Oba has announced he is happy at Newcastle and is willing to fight for his place along with Owen, Viduka and Ameobi.
Speaking first about the Watford game Oba said:
“I told the caretaker-manager (Nigel Pearson) that I had a problem with my knee and I couldnâ€™t travel with the team, but he insisted that I must fly to London and I did,â€
â€œBut then they started saying I was not injured and I was trying to get out of the game. That really upset me and I decided not to go to the stadium. I did not disappear. I was in the team hotel all the time and it was only when I went out that people were telling me they heard I had disappeared.â€
Oba then talked about playing for Newcastle.
â€œI signed a contract with Newcastle and I am happy here at the club and the way the fans supported me even when I wasnâ€™t scoring was great,â€
â€œIf I am fully fit, there is no way I will back out from playing any game for Newcastle. But it would not be right for me to wear the shirt and play when I know that I will not be giving my best. That will be like cheating the fans. â€
The Â£10M Nigerian striker knows he will need to fight for his place in the team next year â€“ but that’s what we need more of at Newcastle. Any top team has a good squad and at least half the team are not regular starters. So we welcome Sam building the squad so there is great competition for places – and anyone who wants to be successful in football knows that his place can never be guaranteed.
Oba does seem to have some problems right now – but we think Sam Allardyce is the perfect manager to help young Oba sort himself out. Once this happens we may see Martins so much better than he was last season – when he did score 17 goals – which was not too bad for a 22 year-old in his first season in the Premiership.