When Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba and Cheik Tiote buggered off to the African Nations Cup EARLY two years ago, Alan Pardew was seriously struggling for numbers.
The hard winter had kicked in and certain foreign players (we know the names) never fancy rolling about in the snow and clarts and the treatment table is forever occupied.
But one player you can ALWAY pin your hopes on is Shola Ameobi.
He KNOCKED BACK the offer from Nigeria, to stay at home and play for Newcastle United that season.
This campaign, which is tipped to be his last in black and white, he has the chance to go to Brazil for the World Cup ... and good luck to him!
Ameobi has said that Nigeria will be prepared for their two-legged World Cup qualifying playoff against Ethiopia today.
The Super Eagles, who finished unbeaten at the top of Group F with three wins and three draws, are hoping to book their place in Brazil, which would be their fifth appearance at the finals.
Shola Ameobi: "We are confident of winning.
Shola Ameobi: "These days you've got to be confident going into games. We are the team in to beat in Africa. We are the African champions and everyone wants to topple us.
"We will be prepared for it. There is pressure on us, but that is what makes us so great, because there is always pressure in various forms and we know how to deal with that.
"It is important that we channel that pressure in the right way so that it can drive us to achieve victory. I know that when I am under pressure, that is when I am able to find out the most about myself and that brings out the best in me. So, hopefully, that can be our motivation this week and then next month."
The first leg takes place in Addis Ababa this evening, with the return leg taking place on November 16.
Source: Newcastle United Mad