Shola Ameobi. I’ve never know of a player who polarises opinion as much as he does.
For the last decade the same argument has surfaced and time and time again opinion is split on the lad. Is he good enough or not?
We know what Shola can do. Just ask the Mackems and they will tell you, if you can coax them from behind their sofa as they tremor with fear at the sheer anticipation of his name. He’s scored at all levels in Europe and has the ability to turn a game on its head with his mixture of strength and skill. The main problem though has been consistency. There is no “he’s done alright” with Shola – he’s either very bad or very good with very little inbetween.
However, whether by design or by accident, Shola appears to have found himself a niche in Alan Pardew’s team. The role being impact sub.
We’ve seen Shola coming on for the last half hour or less, and each time he come on he does something that impresses. Like against Bolton where he came on and set up Papiss Cisse which sealed the three points for us on the day.
Thing is, it’s not the first time it’s happened either and I’m just wondering if now he has found a role that he can fulfil. He turned the game against Tottenham earlier on in the season, and he did it again against the Mackems. All of these appearances have come from the bench.
It’s been my belief that injuries have taken their toll on Wor Shola for quite some time now, and this shows when he has to play 90 minutes in event of injury, suspension or, as was the case recently, players missing through participation in the ACoN. The amount of hip injuries he’s had over the years is going to take it’s toll.
However, if you restrict his playing time down to 30 minutes or less you see a different Shola, a Shola who can give it everything the whole time he is on the pitch, which has given us another dimension in certain games.
Now I know he isn’t to the taste of everyone and I think we’ve all had one of those “Oh FFS!” moments with regards to the Fenham Eusebio. I also know that some people won’t change their opinions on him regardless, but I just happen to think that we’ve stumbled across an effective way to utilise him at long last, which is obviously helped by the fact that we are no longer relying on him.
Has Shola found his role?