SHOLA Ameobi long ago wrote his name into Newcastle United’s European history books – but he’s hoping there are many more chapters to come for him.
Only Alan Shearer has scored more goals against continental opposition than Ameobi, who hopes to start against Club Brugge in Belgium tomorrow night.
Long-serving Ameobi – who has made 44 appearances in European competition – has 13 goals to his name.
Shearer is ahead by some distance – United’s all-time record scorer netted 30 times in UEFA competitions – and it’s unlikely that Ameobi will ever equal, or surpass, that figure.
But the 31-year-old’s “proud” of his record in Europe, and determined to add to it this season – and beyond.
“I’m proud of the record,” Ameobi told the Gazette.
“To be mentioned in the same breath as Alan Shearer is a great honour, but I’m a long way off his record.
“I just need to keep plugging away.
“Hopefully, this won’t be this team’s only stint at Europe.
“I hope it can be a regular occurrence, with the squad the manager’s trying to build here.
If that’s the case, I hope I can get somewhere near it.”
Ameobi came off the bench in the home Europa League game against Brugge, which was won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Gabriel Obertan.
But former England Under-21 international Ameobi could be handed a starting role at the Jan Breydel Stadium in the fourth of United’s six group stage games.
A win could be enough to book a place in the Europa League’s Round of 32.
And Ameobi – who believes he can dovetail into any formation with any striker at the club – is relishing the occasion against the Belgian outfit.
“I love these nights – it takes me back to the Champions League and the UEFA Cup,” he said.
“It’s great to have these nights, because the fans love them. They create a great atmosphere – there aren’t many better nights.”
Pardew and his squad set off for Belgium today, and he is expected to rest leading scorer Demba Ba ahead of Sunday’s Premier League game against West Ham United at St James’s Park.
Should he play, Ameobi could be used as a lone striker, or partner to Papiss Demba Cisse or his younger brother Sammy, who set up Obertan’s goal in the home game against Brugge.
“I like to think I can play with anybody,” said Ameobi Snr.
“You know that Papiss and Demba will get on the end of things, and they’re easy to play with. I like to get them on the end of things, and hopefully I can help the team.
“The lads who aren’t in that starting XI (in the Premier League) want to show the manager what they are about when it comes to Europe.
“The guys who have filled in haven’t let anybody down.”