Sammy’s joy at U21s call

Newcastle's Sammy Ameobi complained of feeling unwell at the weekend.
Newcastle's Sammy Ameobi complained of feeling unwell at the weekend.

SAMMY Ameobi’s told of his joy after making his home debut for Newcastle United – and earning his first England Under-21 call.

The 19-year-old came off the bench in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Everton to make his first senior appearance at St James’s Park.

And 48 hours later, Ameobi was packing his bags after earning a call from Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce as a replacement for injured Sunderland striker Connor Wickham.

Ameobi’s home appearance 11 years after he watched his older brother Shola make his debut against Chelsea at the Stadium, and, growing up, it was always his dream to follow in his sibling’s footsteps.

“To make my debut at St James’s Park for the first team was a great honour,” Ameobi told the Gazette.

“I had a great reception from the fans, and I was honoured. I’m not going to take anything for granted.

“It was a dream come true since I first saw Shola play here against Chelsea about 10 years ago.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to play in front of so many great fans. To have done that was amazing, and I’ll never forget it.”

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On his call-up for England’s European Under-21 Championship qualifiers against Belgium and Iceland, Ameobi added: “I’ve always wanted to represent my country, so to get the opportunity is an excellent thing.

“I won’t take it for granted if I get a chance to play.”

Ameobi was sent on against Everton in the second half as manager Alan Pardew looked to ease the pressure being put on his side by David Moyes’s outfit.

“Basically, the manager told me to take the pressure off the team when I got the ball and just run at defenders,” added Ameobi.

“That’s what I tried to do, and we got the win in the end. I had a few chances, one when I first came on, which I was a bit disappointed about.

“It was just good to get minutes under my belt for the first team, which is what you want.

“To beat a top team like Everton takes a lot of work. We all worked hard, and got the win, which is great.”

Ameobi caused Everton problems going forward, and he’s keen to learn from manager Alan Pardew, who, over time, wants him to improve all aspects of his game.

“It’s about the defensive part as well, which is what I need to learn,” he said.

“It’s not just about the fancy part of football. That’s what the manager’s trying to teach me. I can get better and better at that, and make more impact when I come on.”

Third-placed Newcastle, unbeaten in 11 games, face a tough sequence of fixtures when the Premier League resumes.

They face back to back away games against the two Manchester clubs and a home game against Chelsea.

However, Ameobi says he and his team-mates won’t be fazed by the challenge.

Ameobi said: “Everyone’s buzzing – to be where we are in the Premier League after 11 games isn’t easy.

“It’s amazing, and hopefully we can keep it going. I know the next three games are tough. We have to work hard every day.”

miles.starforth@northeast-press.co.uk