Sammy switches allegiance for reunion with Shola

SWITCH ... Sammy Ameobi.
SWITCH ... Sammy Ameobi.
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SAMMY Ameobi hopes to be reunited with his brother Shola – in Nigeria’s team.

The 22-year-old has up to now played international football for England’s Under-21 side.

United States's Geoff Cameron (20) tries to stop Nigeria's Shola Ameobi (23) as he takes a shot on goal during the first half of an international friendly soccer match in Jacksonville, Fla., Saturday, June 7, 2014. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

United States's Geoff Cameron (20) tries to stop Nigeria's Shola Ameobi (23) as he takes a shot on goal during the first half of an international friendly soccer match in Jacksonville, Fla., Saturday, June 7, 2014. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

But Newcastle-born Ameobi, having travelled to the World Cup finals in Brazil to watch his elder sibling play for Nigeria, has decided to switch allegiance.

Ameobi Snr, released by United this summer, had also played for England at Under-21 level.

“It wasn’t a difficult decision, because I decided to follow my heart and I think it’s the right thing to do,” Ameobi told BBC Sport.

“I saw Shola at the World Cup, and for him to play at a major tournament like that is a big motivation.”

Ameobi, entering the final year of his Newcastle contract, knows it is a make or break season for him at St James’s Park.

And before he can think about a senior country call-up, Ameobi must start playing week in, week out for his club.

Asked about playing alongside his brother for Nigeria, he said: “It would be nice, but I need to work extremely hard at club level to get the attention of the Nigerian coaches.

“The country has a lot of talent. I just want to do well and hopefully get a chance with the Super Eagles.”

Shola Ameobi, meanwhile, is yet to sign for a new club.

The veteran striker left the Magpies at the end of last season after 12 years with the club.

He has been pictured at Newcastle’s training ground and is believed to be working with the club’s Academy to stay fit.