Magpie Sammy wants Shola reunion with Nigeria

Sammy Ameobi
Sammy Ameobi
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SAMMY Ameobi is looking for him and Shola Ameobi to be brothers in arms again – for Nigeria.

The Ameobis played together at Newcastle United up to Shola’s summer departure.

And Ameobi would love to link up again with his elder sibling on in the international stage.

Ameobi Snr went to the summer’s World Cup with Nigeria, who have reinstated coach Stephen Keshi for the final two African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Congo and South Africa later this month.

The Super Eagles are three points adrift of a the two qualifying spots for January’s tournament in Morocco.

Ameobi – who has played his part in United’s mini-revival after coming in from the cold on Tyneside – is hoping to follow in his brother’s footsteps.

Shola, like Sammy, represented England at Under-21 level, but he switched alleigence late in his career.

However, the Newcastle-born player – who hopes to keep his place for Sunday’s game against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns – knows he must maintain his form club level if he is to get international recognition.

“I’m looking to get involved in the national team,” Ameobi said.

“Hopefully, I can do that. I’d just like to play alongside Shola again.

“I’m looking forward to that, but the most important thing is playing here for Newcastle.

“If I get an opportunity, I need to take it. If Nigeria happens, it’s a bonus.”

However, Shola – who joined for Turkish club Gaziantep as a free agent in August after a 14-year first-team career at Newcastle – has not featured for Nigeria since the World Cup.

Sammy, meanwhile, started the season on the fringes at Newcastle, and he looked destined for a loan move away from St James’s Park in the final year of his contract.

But Ameobi was handed a chance – and he took it.

The forward scored his first Premier League goal six seconds after coming on against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane late last month.

And he was named in the starting XI for last weekend’s home game against Liverpool after coming off the bench in the club’s stunning midweek Capital One Cup victory over holders Manchester City.

The challenge for Ameobi is to deliver week in, week out.

“For me, it’s important I build on the Tottenham game,” said Ameobi. “It’s far too easy to just do it once and then fall back out of the squad again.

“That’s not what I want at all.

“I want to start for Newcastle every week, so I’ve got to make the most of this opportunity and make sure I don’t slip up.

“This season I’ve worked really hard, played Under-21 games to stay on top of my fitness, and have got my chance now.

“I’m not going to let that go this time. I’m not a kid anymore, and I realise that.

“It’s one thing being told you have all this talent, but I’m at an age when I have to produce it.

“I’m a grown man and it’s not about potential any more, it’s about actually doing something.

“I have to start playing like a man and acting like a man, and hopefully this season can be the start of that.”

Ameobi, having helped United climb out of the relegation zone, is now looking for the 12th-placed club to break into the top 10.

“A club like Newcastle should be in the top half as a minimum, and we have every chance to make that happen and then push on,” he said.