TOON talisman Shola Ameobi’s aiming to force his way into Alan Pardew’s Premier League side.
Ameobi opened the scoring in Newcastle’s comfortable 3-0 Europa League victory over Bordeaux at St James’s Park last night.
It was the 30-year-old’s 13 European goal for the club – and now he’s hoping to face Manchester United at St James’s Park on Sunday.
“I don’t think I’m that old that I can’t play two games in four days!” said Ameobi, who is hoping to press top scorer Demba Ba – rested last night – and Papiss Demba Cisse, who also scored last night, for a starting spot.
“The manager picks the team, but I’m available, and every time I pull on that shirt I’m trying to show him I’m worth a starting place in the Premier League.
“That’s all I can do – play as hard and as well as I can. If he picks me, I’ll be ready to go.
“At the start of last season I played with Demba quite a bit, and he’s a guy who can score goals from anywhere,” he added.
“Papiss is the same. They’re very easy to work with as you know they are going to get on the end of things.
“I like to get the ball down and bring people into play. I think they really enjoy me doing that.
“Hopefully, I can bring that to the team and help the team play better than they have been. That’s what I want to do – score goals and bring people into play – and if it works like that, it’s great.”
Despite making seven changes for the game, Pardew saw his side inflict a first defeat in 17 games on Bordeaux to go top of their group.
“We knew it would a tough game,” added Ameobi. “They won their last match comfortably, and you could see they came here looking for a result.
“You could see they were a good side. The manager said before the game that he wanted us to take the game to them early on.
“They were a little bit shell-shocked the way we came out. We really took the game to them.
“It was like a breath of fresh air for us, because at times this season we haven’t hit that top form.
“We were able to show we can play football, and to get that win was fantastic for our confidence.
“It bodes well for the squad. We had a couple of players missing, but the guys that came in didn’t let themselves down.”
Ameobi admitted he hasn’t scored too many easier goals in his long Newcastle career, tapping home from a couple of yards out after a run and cross from Gabriel Obertan.
“Yo (Yohan Cabaye) played a great ball out to Gabby, who threatened all night and is coming into a lot of form now with his pace and power,” he added.
“To be fair, if I’d missed that I wouldn’t have shown my face at the end of the match!
“I couldn’t have scored an easier goal, but it was a great team goal. I’m happy to get off the mark.
“You have Demba banging them in, and I want to get involved in that.
“The goal is a great for confidence.”
The Gazette’s Europa League coverage is in association with UTS Engineering Ltd. http://www.uts-ltd.com/