Shola desperate to star
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Shola Ameobi says he can be Newcastle's top striker despite Michael Owen's arrival.Despite the summer arrivals of Michael Owen and Albert Luque, Shola Ameobi has heaped pressure on himself to be the focal point of the Newcastle attack this season.
Graeme Souness spent £26.5 million on his strike-force during pre-season and Ameobi must now contend with two more international stars after Craig Bellamy and Patrick Kluivert were shunted out by the Scottish boss.
The 22-year-old has not yet managed to prove himself to be a prolific forward with just 16 goals in over 100 league games on Tyneside, and the Magpies' faithful have now wholeheartedly embraced Owen as their saviour as Alan Shearer's powers continue to wane.
The Newcastle captain even offered to give up his number nine shirt in a bid to entice Owen from Real Madrid, although Ameobi is keen to come out of the shadows to prove himself capable of joining the list of the club's historic strikers.
"I grew up hearing about the great number nines, Jackie Milburn, Supermac (Malcolm MacDonald), and, of course, Alan," said Ameobi.
"And, as a Geordie, it would mean much more to me to inherit the shirt than any new signing.
"It will take someone special to wear it and do it justice and I want to be that player.
"I have to be top scorer this season and I believe I can be.
"I feel mentally stronger and more confident and after carrying a hip injury last year I'm fitter too.
"The time has come for me to step out of Alan's shadow, prove there can be life after him and shoot Newcastle to success."