NEWCASTLE boss Alan Pardew hailed Shola Ameobi, whose vital opening goal at Morecambe last night was his 77th for the Magpies.
“He’s actually looked the best I have seen him in this pre-season,” Pardew said.
“I think the Nigeria selection has actually given him a boost – I can see that in his eyes.
“He is looking forward to the international coming up, and I think that’s benefited us.
“Sometimes we moan about that (international call-ups), but this time it’s been a bit of a lift for him and his confidence and everything. He was terrific in the second half.”
On Sammy’s performance, Pardew said: “Sammy put in a really good display offensively and defensively. We have had problems with him defensively in the past.
“We have never doubted his talent, but he put it all together this pre-season and that was shown.
“I thought he was the difference between the two teams until Hatem (Ben Arfa) came on, who them really did open the game up for us.”