There seems to be little chance that Shola Ameobi will be able to get a starting place in the Newcastle side that faces Arsenal in the first game of the Premier League season on 13th August.
Shola Ameobi – doubtful to be starter next season
It looks likely that Ameobi will get a start against third tier side Orlando City tomorrow night, and Shola did come on after some 30 minutes in the game against Sporting Kansas on Wednesday, in place of the injured Ben Arfa.
But in that game against Sporting Kansas, the two defenses were on top for most of the game, and there were not too many chances, and indeed the first shot on goal, from either side, was after a full 60 minutes.
This is what Shola said to the local Newcastle press today from Orlando
“No matter who it’s against, if you’re wearing a Newcastle shirt, you want to do your best,”
“I just want to start the season in the right shape, and I’m working hard on my fitness.”
“When it comes to August and Arsenal, you want to be ready, and that’s what these games are here for.”
“People say the results don’t really matter, but as a professional, when you cross the white line, you want to do your best.”
Ameobi is realizing that sports in the United States is huge, and even in football (called soccer here) the facilities the clubs have are excellent.
And there has even been some criticism of this Newcastle tour by some, Steve Howey in particular, but the lads are getting what they need, some good training and some competitive games – what more do you want?
And Shola seems to be quite pleased with the way things have gone in America, and certainly he seemed impressed with the Sporting Kansas facilities.
“You can learn a lot out here.” “The manager has said that too. When you look at the quality of Kansas’s training ground and stadium.”
“It was unbelievable.” “It’s one of the reasons we are out here. If you can see a better way of doing it, that’s the idea. That’s why we are out here.”
“You can take a lot of lessons with the way the Americans do things in terms of organization and the technology side of it. It makes the difference.”
“If it can make us stronger, then great. Whatever ideas they have that can make Newcastle United stronger, we need to know.”
“The downsides are the jetlag and different time zones, but we are coping quite well.” “We are enjoying it, but there have been a lot of flights for us.”
“From the point of the players, it’s pre-season, and we’re just putting the required work in. The fact that we’re training so hard and are building up our fitness is good.”
“The next few games will get us ready for Arsenal for the opening game of the season.” “You are waking up early in the morning, but that’s how it is.”
“You can sleep during the day, and we have done a bit of that.” “We are having two sessions per day and working hard.”
Shola is going to have a hard time getting too many first team starts this season, although when the local lad is on form, he’s almost unplayable, but he’s not in top form too much during a full season.
And of course when he does hit top form, the frustrating thing with Shola is that’s the time he usually picks up those injuries, and he’s had quite a few hamstring problems in his eleven year career on Tyneside.
There are far too many games that Shola seems to disappear and even lose interest in games, but we hear the Nigerian-born striker has always been really good in training but rarely produces that form in games.
But as we said, when he does produce his best he can be a great player, as he’s proved that many times when he’s hit his best form against local rivals Sunderland – as one example.
With Demba Ba likely to be the starting front man, and with hopes that Newcastle can still sign PSG striker Mevlut Erdinc, Ameobi may have to be content with being a bit player next season, in the last year of his current contract at Newcastle.
What do you think?