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Shola Ameobi open to playing or coaching opportunities

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Former Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi tells Soccer AM he has not retired from football and would consider signing for a club if the right offer came up.

Former Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi insists he has not retired from football and would consider signing for a club if the right offer came up.

The 36-year-old is a free agent after being released by Notts County at the end of last season.

"I'm doing bits and bobs," Ameobi told Soccer AM. "I made a decision with the family that I wanted to be closer to Newcastle, which obviously limits the clubs you can look for.

"I've kept myself fit and I haven't retired officially. It would have to be the right club. It's not something I'm actively pursuing but if something came up I'd definitely be ready."

Since his release from Notts County, Ameobi has continued coaching at Newcastle's academy, the system where he developed into a professional.

Should a playing contract fail to materialise, Ameobi says he would explore coaching opportunities.

"I've had to think about the future," he added. "I've done all of my coaching badges and A Licence.

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"I've been coaching with the academy for years now since I was at Newcastle. I enjoy passing on what I learnt because I grew up in that academy and have a lot of experiences."

Ameobi made nearly 400 appearances for Newcastle during a 14-year association for the north-east club.

Newcastle have endured a tough start to the season, picking up just two points from their opening six Premier League games.

Asked for his assessment of the Magpies' start to the campaign, and the on-going issues surrounding Rafa Benitez's tenure, Ameobi said: "Rafa is a top, top manager.

"What he did last season for Newcastle was nothing short of remarkable. To get a group of players that were built to win the Championship to take the step up in the Premier League and finish 10th was awesome.

"He's suffering from his own achievement because he's done so well. He obviously wants investment and that hasn't quite happened as he would have liked.

"Rafa is a man of his word, that's the type of guy he is. Unfortunately for Newcastle, he's only got this year left.

"It would be sad to see a top, top manager leave because he's not been given what he wants.

"We've got everything there - top manager, great fans, a fantastic football club - it would be nice to see him happy."

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