Ameobi Wants Eagles’ Call-up

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Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi is hoping to be considered by Nigeria selectors for next year’s two major tournaments; the African Nations Cup and World Cup.

Ameobi, who has represented England at cadet level, has previously been sounded out by Nigeria in the past, but turned down the opportunities as he held out for an England place.

“It was a great honour for me to represent England at Under-21 level and my mum and dad were so proud of me.

“But they would love to see me play for Nigeria. I see myself as Nigerian; I was born and bred there.”

Now 28, and with no hope of putting on a Three Lions strip in the immediate future, Ameobi has turned to the country of his birth, after seeing the Super Eagles grind out a World Cup ticket.

“It’s not about changing allegiances. I’ve got Nigerian roots and I’m proud of my country, the country where I was born and spent the first five or six years of my life.

“Playing at the World Cup is the pinnacle of any player’s career. It’s what you dream of and if I can do that with Nigeria then that would be fantastic for me.

“They have been in touch before to see whether I was interested. In the past, I chose not to so I could concentrate on helping Newcastle.

“But I have reached a stage in my career where I would love to play international football and realistically it’s not going to happen with England.

“As I say, Nigeria is the country of my birth and if the coach is open to it then it’s something I would love to do, at the African Nations Cup and the World Cup.”

Ameobi says he has already discussed the idea with his former team-mate Obafemi Martins whose goals helped Nigeria  clinch their World Cup place at the weekend.

“We have talked about it and I would like to think that maybe I could add something to the team and help my country,” said Ameobi.

“2010 is a big year for Nigeria. The African Nation Cup is the same for us as the European Championships is in Europe. It’s a tournament I would love to play in.”