We had thought the face mask Shola Ameobi was wearing, would at least let him play with no pain, as it protected the cheekbone he broke in early February at Fulham.
Shola Ameobi’s mask – up close and personal
But that is not true, as Shola has revealed today that the face mask hurts him every time he heads the ball.
So it was significant that Shola got a great headed goal just before half time on Saturday, and that followed his headed flick-on to Kevin Nolan for the first goal, in what was a terrific display from the 29 year-old.
Some of Shola’ s disappointing displays in the past for Newcastle have come when he has played with an injury, something that other players, like Michael Owen as one example, would never do, and to be fair to Michael, it’s never good when you do play when injured.
But it shows the quiet courage of Newcastle’s Nigerian-born striker, who has a heart of gold, and certainly played a massive role in Newcastle’s excellent 4-1 demolition of Wolves.
It seems that after many weeks training and playing in the mask, Shola is still trying to come to terms with it, and this is what he revealed today:
“It’s sore, really sore,” “Every time I head the ball, it is hard plastic so it smashes against your face.” “I got a boot in the face , the back of someone’s head in the face, it hurts. It’s all part and parcel of it.”
“The mask has given me a chance to play and that’s what I wanted. My goal was a header, so the mask is working.” “When I catch the ball right on the forehead it’s fine, but you’re never going to get it on your forehead all the time and it really hurts when you don’t.”
“You get banged and whacked, there are elbows flying. Hopefully I’ve only got to put up with it for another couple of weeks. The surgeon wants me to wear it until the end of the season, but I can’t wait to ditch it. I think it might get dumped sooner than that.”
“I wasn’t sure about it at first, but I’ve got used to it and I’m putting myself about.” “We’re in a dogfight. We need to fight and I need to set an example up front.”
“The manager wanted me to set an example, he wanted me to lead the line, and the least you can do is put yourself about and work hard. We did that as a team.”
Newcastle were two goals up at half-time and Shola made one and scored one, and he gave a masterful display of leading the line for Newcastle on Saturday, and he was a right handful for the rather dodgy Wolves defense.
And certainly Alan Pardew has praised Shola’s display to high heaven today, as he had this to say about the England U21 International:
“He was magnificent. Those fast feet he’s got for a tall man.”
“There is no reason why Shola, at this late stage in his career, can’t have a fantastic end to it. He was brilliant, especially in the air, against two big six-footers.”
“Perhaps he hasn’t always been at his best, but generally he’s been great and he’s been fantastic for me. It was a top, top performance.”
Alan Pardew was visibly relieved after the game, and we trust he was able to have a drink with his wife, in the Newcastle City center on Saturday evening.
If he did he would have been congratulated by many delighted, and even ecstatic, Newcastle fans.
It was just a terrific and uplifting win for the Newcastle club on Saturday, after almost four weeks of misery following two successive defeats.
I admit to having a couple glasses of red wine after the game, and wrote one article that seemed to completely disappear somewhere – I never managed to find out what happened to it – it’s still a mystery and still in cyber-space somewhere – as I recall it was a great article too.
Howay The Lads!!