After seeing off 22 forwards, Ameobi not fazed by Cissé's arrival
There was much deliberation in the North-east yesterday morning – ironically at Sunderland's Academy of Light before Martin O'Neill's press briefing – about how many forwards Shola Ameobi had seen off in his 11 years at Newcastle.
The official figure, presented by the club itself, came out at 22. That however, included three players – Wayne Routledge, Fabrice Pancrate and Nacho Gonzalez – who were most definitely wingers, first and foremost.
Similarly, the list started after his debut, not when Ameobi had actually signed, in which case a certain Alan Shearer should have been added. The blurring of the amount could not hide the enormity of challenges the unassuming Ameobi has seen off.
From Patrick Kluivert to Craig Bellamy, from Michael Owen to Mark Viduka, the Nigerian-born Geordie has taken the arrival of a major player in his lengthy stride.
The latest news then, that he had another bit of in-house competition in the shape of Papiss Cissé, signed on Tuesday for £8m, brought laughter and candid realism.
"I'll have a good guess (at how many it's been)," said Ameobi. "Twenty-eight, nearly as many as managers I've had, ha ha, ha. I know it's a lot. Am I worried? Do you know what? You would think that in a way it would disappoint me but really, it doesn't.
"We've had numerous strikers come in since I have been here and it doesn't change for me. You've got to fight for places at every club and it's no different here. The thing for me, it makes you work harder.
"When a top player comes in, you know you have to fight harder and do better to get a place in the team and that can only bode well for the club. I have always seen it that way. Obviously it is another player that you have to fight against but every player in every position has that and it is no different for myself, so I always try and look at it from the bigger picture. Hopefully, it can only bode well for the club.
"To be honest, I don't look past a two-week margin. I just tend to focus on the next two games. That's how I look at it. If you've got the shirt, I know that the manager is faithful to his team if they are doing well for him. He has shown that all season."
Ameobi added: "Some managers say stuff and don't really stick to it but we feel this manager gives everyone a chance, and the squad is great because you know if you get your chance and do well, it is more than likely you will keep your place."
Latest in Sport
Angel Di Maria reveals wish to return to Argentina - but don't worry Manchester United fans...
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Husain Abdullah penalised after celebrating a touchdown with a Muslim prayer - causing mass outrage among fans
Robin van Persie reveals Louis van Gaal wants Manchester United to 'be more Dutch and pull on the same rope'
Manchester United risk Uefa row over plan to play lucrative midweek friendlies
- 1 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 4 Teenagers irritable because early school hours mess with their biological clocks
- 5 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month