SAMMY Ameobi has been backed to come back stronger from the first injury setback of his fledgling career.
The Newcastle United striker faces up to three months on the sidelines after hurting his knee in a reserve game last week.
Ameobi had established himself as a first-team squad player after making his Premier League debut in the penultimate game of last season.
And the injury is a blow to the versatile 19-year-old – and the club.
Manager Alan Pardew has lost Demba Ba to the African Cup of Nations and Ameobi – who suffered the injury in a 50-50 challenge in last week’s second-string win over Wigan Athletic – could have been given a chance in his absence.
However, assistant manager John Carver is confident Ameobi will come back stronger – mentally and physically – from his time on the sidelines.
“The boy’s done exceptionally well,” Carver said. “He needed a game and that’s why the manager played him (against Wigan) along with one or two other lads.
“When the challenge happened, I thought it was bad.
“He got up and tried to play on, but the manager said to get him off the pitch.
“It’s a blow. He was doing well and making the kind of progress we’d hoped for this season.
“The injury’s a bit unfortunate, as we’ve got Demba going to the African Cup of Nations.
“That might have been an opportunity for him. It’s unfortunate and he’s now got to deal with it. Hopefully, he’ll come back stronger.”
Pardew has not been afraid to blood in young players, having also handed Premier League starts to teenagers Haris Vuckic and Mehdi Abeid in recent weeks and their progress is an example to others at the club, according to Carver.
Carver previously worked at United’s Academy, where he once coached Ameobi’s elder brother Shola and he is committed to seeing more youngsers making the step up to first-team football.
“One thing I would say is that the manager’s shown if a kid’s good enough, he’ll get a chance,” said Carver.
“We’ve not seen that for a long time. He’s prepared to give young players at this club a chance and that’s a good thing.
“Sammy’s a great example of that. If a player’s good enough, they’ll get a chance. Sammy got a chance and he took it.”