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Sammy hails the impact of Newcastle's youngsters
SAMMY Ameobi claims the development of Newcastle United's youngsters is helping to justify the club's refusal to pay over the odds for its transfer targets this summer.
After producing a man-of-the-match display in Thursday's Europa League win over Club Brugge, Ameobi came off the bench to fire in the long-range effort that led to Papiss Cisse's winner in Sunday's 2-1 victory over West Brom.
The 20-year-old heads a group of talented youngsters that also includes Shane Ferguson, James Tavernier and Gael Bigirimana, all of whom have featured in the first team this season.
Had Alan Pardew signed the likes of Mathieu Debuchy, Douglas and Luuk de Jong this summer, their route to the first team would almost certainly have been blocked.
But with Newcastle pulling out of a number of deals because of a failure to agree an acceptable fee, the club's academy products have been charged with the task of plugging any gaps in the senior squad.
"We've got a lot of good young players coming through, which I think people can see now," said Ameobi, who is likely to remain in the squad for Sunday's trip to Liverpool. "I think that's good for the solidity of the team and it's up to us to produce now.
"I know there weren't a lot of signings made this summer and that was commented on by a lot of the fans. But this is our chance to come out and show that we can do it. I fully intend to show that I can do it and am capable of it.
"This is a massive season for me. There's going to be a lot of opportunities because we're in the Europa League and the FA Cup is still to come as well. For fringe players like me, there is a chance to show what we're made of."
Prior to Thursday's European outing, Sammy's elder brother, Shola, was predicting that his sibling would go on to eclipse his own achievements in the game.
The pair are clearly extremely close, a result not only of their familial bond but also of their shared Christian faith.
Sammy can remember watching Shola play when he was not even in his teens, and his brother remains a huge inspiration as he attempts to establish himself in the game.
"Shola is a great player, but more than that he's a great man," said Sammy. "He was a massive inspiration to me and I'm glad he's still here.
"Hopefully, he will be able to play a lot more before he hangs up his boots because it's a massive encouragement to have him here and he's also a motivation to me.
"When I'm not on my game or not trying my best in training or have taken my eye off the ball, he's right there putting me back in my place. He keeps my feet on the ground, so I'm lucky to have him here with me.
"Watching him was always a massive inspiration - I used to come along and watch him at every game. It was something to strive for and gave me the encouragement to go on and try to outstrip Shola's achievements. He gives me something to compete against as well as being my inspiration."
As well as forcing his way into Newcastle's starting line-up, Ameobi is also hoping to earn a return to the England Under-21 squad for next month's friendly against Northern Ireland.
"I'm really hopeful I can get back into that squad," he said. "I want to be back in the set-up, it's something I'd love to do.
"Stuart Pearce was really encouraging when he first called me into the squad so hopefully he's seen my last two performances and I'll get another chance."