Shola Ameobi's behind the scenes gesture at Newcastle United that has helped young players 'a lot'

Shola Ameobi has become an influential figure behind the scenes at Newcastle United.

Ameobi – who made just shy of 400 appearances as a player for Newcastle – returned to the club as its first ever loan player coordinator in 2019.

His role includes monitoring the progress of Newcastle’s loan players, attending matches and maintaining a connection with players and their parent club throughout their loan spells.

The Magpies currently have 10 players out on loan, including 22-year-old Kell Watts at Wigan Athletic.

Shola Ameobi, Newcastle's loan player co-ordinator (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

And the young defender has praised the job Ameobi has been doing overseeing his loan spell at the DW Stadium.

"I couldn't ask for much more from Shola since coming in,” Watts told nufc.co.uk after signing a new two-year deal. “Every loan I've had, he's always been on the end of the phone, weekly, and comes to games; even the ones he doesn't, [he] always rings me about them.

"I think the key thing is, when it's going good sometimes I might not hear from him but it's when it maybe isn't; he's the first one on the phone."

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Kell Watts of Newcastle looks on during the pre-season friendly between Burton Albion and Newcastle United at the Pirelli Stadium on July 30, 2021 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Ameobi graduated from Newcastle’s youth team 22-years ago and is arguably one of the club’s finest academy success stories of the modern era with only Shay Given and Alan Shearer making more Premier League appearances for The Magpies.

And he is someone United’s current academy players look up to and respect.

“I mean, he's an ex-Premier League player who played 400 games so when he speaks, you listen because I know he's got so many pieces of advice to give me,” Watts added.

"He just knows the right time to say things which has definitely helped me a lot in feeling that connection. He's always saying 'the manager's watching' and just keeping me on my toes.

"And with Ben [Dawson, first team development coach], when I was transitioning from a forward player and a midfield player to being a centre-back, I played 40 games as centre-back with the under-23s when I was 18 and working with Ben after every game, sitting down, going through all the video work, that was massive.

"So having that connection, and having those relationships, you feel that support when you're away on loan."

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