Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Fenham Eusebio: Incredible Hulk?

Listening to this affable, decent, thoroughly professional, dishwater-dull post-match interview with NUFC’s top homegrown striker… whey, it could be wor Alan Shearer talking, back in his prime. But no, it’s Shola Ameobi, restored to the side after a frustrating break for injury, and back where he left off, scoring goals for fun in Division 2.
Is Shola about to get another shot at being a top-flight striker, a Toon #9 even? He seems to have held off the challenge of young Nile Ranger, very much a bench-warmer of late, sad to say; also that of Leon Best, who was bought as Shola-cover just as 'Marlene' Harewood was borrowed, and now seems to be struggling to get in the squad. Well, as Shola points out, there’s team spirit about NUFC these days, of a sort not seen since the Robson years. (When Souness was boss Shola was at times deployed on the left-wing, to little effect i.e. the occasional prolonged, gangling, aimless dribble.) The forging of a good team means competition for places, and exclusion. You need to earn your place, and in Shola, Carroll and Lovenkrands NUFC have had three proper notching strikers this season. Next season? Hmm. Even Wolves, as pundit Shearer pointed out recently, could score for fun when in the Fizzy Pop League…

A final Shola/Shearer point: it looks to me like Ameobi has used his convalescence to hit the weight-pile. His upper body has, to my eye, a newly rock-like aspect, reminiscent of how Shearer came back from his ankle break c.1998, shorter of pace but strategically self-reinvented as a serious tough nut. Some might say that with Carroll we have our bruising/eye-watering striker already in place, nee further applications, thanks. But aggression was a quality Shola always needed more of, and a bit more muscle will help with that.

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