SHOLA Ameobi is ready to sacrifice his summer holidays to make his long-awaited Nigeria debut.
And should the striker be called up, Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew will have a nervous wait before discovering whether Ameobi has come through his first round of internationals unscathed and fit for pre-season.
Ameobi is ready to switch allegience to the country of his birth, having represented England at Under-21 level.
Nigeria are playing two friendlies and an African Cup of Nations qualifier in late May and early June.
And Ameobi – who moved to Tyneside when he was five years old – has written to the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) signalling his willingness to play for the Super Eagles, having been overlooked by England at senior level.
However, should the paperwork be completed in time, it would mean a shorter rest period for the 29-year-old, who has netted eight goals in another injury-hit campaign for Newcastle.
“I’ve made my intentions clear to them,” Ameobi (pictured) said. “It’s something I’d love to do, and if they pick me, then great.
“I just have to wait and see before the next internationals. Hopefully, it’s something I can achieve in the next couple of months.”
Ameobi was named in the Nigeria squad for a February friendly against Guatemala in the U.S., but was forced to withdraw after fracturing his cheekbone in United’s defeat away to Fulham.
“I was set set to go (for the Guatemala friendly),” Ameobi added. “I’ve been injured since they called me up the last time. Hopefully, I’ll get another chance.”
However, the prospect of regular international football for Ameobi, not least in the summer months when his team-mates will be resting, will be of concern to manager Alan Pardew, given the potential for injury.
Earlier in his career, Ameobi hoped to make the step up from to the full England squad, having scored seven Under-21 goals.
Meanwhile, NFF general secretary Musa Amadu – who is working on the paperwork for Ameobi’s switch – has revealed he is still waiting for documentation from the Football Association.
Wigan Athletic’s Victor Moses is also changing allegiance and if the application to Fifa can be made in time, both he and Ameobi are set to be named in the squad for the summer fixtures.
“In the next few days, we want to put some urgency into the process to get them to send the letters,” said Amadu.
“Both players have written and signed letters to Fifa showing their willingness to change nationalities. It is only right that their wishes are respected.”
Nigeria are arranging a friendly against another African country for May 28, and have a high-profile fixture against Argentina on June 1, as their final preparation for their African Cup of Nations qualifier against Ethiopia.