Ameobi tips brother to shine
Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi is backing younger brother Sammy to surpass him as the pair prepare to launch a double assault on Europe.
The Ameobis would become the third pair of siblings to start a senior competitive game for the Magpies if manager Alan Pardew gives them the nod against Club Brugge at St James' Park on Thursday after George and Ted Robledo in the 1950s and Matty and Richard Appleby four decades later.
"I want to see him surpass anything I've ever done in this game and I know he has the ability to do that. He can do that, without a shadow of a doubt," Shola said.
Striker Shola, now 31, broke into the first-team squad under Sir Bobby Robson as a teenager and now midfielder Sammy, almost 11 years his junior, is attempting to do the same.
"There's nearly 11 years between us, so when we were growing up, I think he was maybe a little bit intimidated by me, which is normal," Shola said. "I feel that as a big brother, I have to make sure he's on the right track all the time. I know my parents expect that of me, and it's something I'm conscious about doing."
Ameobi senior, who unlike his brother, was born in Nigeria, but raised on Tyneside, has had to deal with injuries and the pressure of being the local boy during his rise from promising starlet to senior frontman. The wisdom gained during that, at times, difficult journey has served him well over the years, and he is hoping he can pass that on to Sammy as he attempts to negotiate a similar path.
Shola said: "I don't coach him because I don't profess to be a coach, but I try to explain to him what I've been through.
"I try to tell him about the mistakes I've made along the way - which are a few - and try to help him not to repeat them."
Pardew has confirmed that the younger Ameobi will start, along with Northern Ireland international Shane Ferguson and midfielder Cheick Tiote, who will spend much of the next month kicking his heels after being sent off in Sunday's 1-1 derby draw at Sunderland.
"They are two players, I think, who can effect the first-team at this football club and take us forward as a club," Pardew said. "It is a big game for them and they are training very, very well. We hope to see some fine performances from those two in particular tomorrow."