Newcastle United’s long-serving striker Shola Ameobi has set his sights on regular first-team appearances this season as he look to bolster his chances of making coach Stephen Keshi’s selection for the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.
The 31-year-old, who was among the Super Eagles’ starting lineup that defeated South Africa 2-0 in the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup in Durban yesterday (Wednesday), insists the time is right for him to feature at the soccer showpiece after several years with the England U21 side.
He made 19 appearances as a substitute last season, scoring a single goal, but has been very instrumental to the Magpies’ pre-season campaign in the absence of Demba Ba.
“It’s top of the agenda,” Ameobi said, speaking to the BBC Newcastle.
“A lot of years I couldn’t play (for Nigeria) but Fifa changed the rules and I now have an opportunity to do what every footballer wants to do, which is to play in a World Cup.
“I have been called up for friendlies and hopefully I can show the manager what I can do, but you need to play games to get into the squad.”
The indigene of the Confluence State, Kogi, has spent his entire career at St James’ Park since joining the club’s academy in 1995, bearing a six-game loan spell at Stoke en Trent.
He however believes the arrival of Queens Park Rangers French striker Loic Remy on a season-long loan shouldn’t hamper his plans for the new season, as he wouldn’t rule out a move elsewhere for first team football if necessary.
“There’s been a lot of speculation regards people coming in and out, but I’m an old head now and I just want to focus on myself and making sure I am right, whether it’s playing for Newcastle or someone else,” he said.
“Of course I am happy here- I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t- but if a lot of strikers do come in then I am pushed down the pecking order, I need to make sure I get games.
“It’s important I look at that and see where we are.”