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Dyer is backing Ameobi to shine
10:58am Monday 4th March 2013 in Sport
KIERON DYER knows how it feels to be a young footballer in the spotlight, but he thinks everything is in place for Middlesbrough’s latest matchwinner to ignore distractions en route to the top.
Winger Sammy Ameobi became an instant Riverside Stadium hero on Saturday when he dazzled the 15,440 crowd with some mesmerising feet to tee himself up for a stunning debut goal against Championship leaders Cardiff City.
The 20-year-old is valued highly at Newcastle United, where manager Alan Pardew has sanctioned the loan move until the end of the season to aid his development.
As a player with enormous potential, the down to earth Ameobi will have to deal with increased attention if he continues to show the sort of class which helped secure a 2- 1 win for Boro.
Dyer, who had put Middlesbrough ahead four minutes earlier, has had to live with stardom since bursting on to the scene with Ipswich Town before a £6m switch to St James’ Park in 1999.
The 34-year-old, who was playing 12-and-a-half years ago when Sammy’s elder brother Shola made his Newcastle debut against Chelsea, is satisfied things have changed sufficiently to give promising talents a better grounding in the game.
“It’s completely different to be a young player these days,” said Dyer, a renowned partyboy when he was younger.
“When I went to Newcastle you didn’t have any player liaison officer.
“One minute I was at Ipswich and the next I was flying to Newcastle, living on the Quayside, no advice.
“Thousands and thousands of pounds were given to you a week, so of course you make mistakes. Young lads now have the player liaison officer around, people advising you what to do with your money, keeping you out of town and buying houses for you.
“It’s completely different to when I was a young lad as part of the Brat Pack. I wouldn’t change that, but you do learn from mistakes and I have matured.
Sammy will have the best advice around.”
During Ameobi’s schoolboy days he would often be at St James’ Park mingling with Newcastle’s first team players because of Shola so he had spoken to Dyer before.
And after spending the last week training and playing with one another, Dyer has been hugely impressed by a young man he had been introduced to a few years ago.
“Sammy’s one of those who is so gangly, he has long legs, he looks like Bambi on Ice sometimes, but he is very tricky,” said Dyer, hoping to figure at Huddersfield tomorrow night as Boro seek to get back in the top six.
“Sammy can manipulate the ball and is very hard to mark. He is so unpredictable.
He has a bright future.
“This move to Middlesbrough is good for him to get some games under his belt and hopefully he will keep producing like that for us. I think he was a ball-boy when I was playing for Newcastle.
When he came it reminded me – again – of how old I am.”
Eyebrows were raised by a number of Middlesbrough supporters when Mowbray decided to bring Ameobi in rather than target more experience in the hunt for promotion.
But when the England Under-21s international was substituted in the latter stages of Saturday’s victory he received a standing ovation from those inside the Riverside.
“It’s been great. I have enjoyed my time down here so far,” said Ameobi. “It’s good to talk about a win and to get a goal for myself as well. I am pleased I have started well and I got that reaction from the fans.”
It was Ameobi’s first league goal in senior football and only the second of his career.
The first was an extra-time stunner in a League Cup win over Scunthorpe in August 2011.
He said: “The box was crowded. I had to do a bit extra to get a bit of space to finish and I did. I was happy with it. The only other goal I scored was the one at Scunthorpe. I only score worldys!”
Saturday also earned a first for Dyer. Although he scored for Queens Park Rangers in the FA Cup before his departure last month, he had not scored in the league since hitting the net at Watford in a Newcastle shirt in May 2007.
He said: “That’s very misleading because I haven’t played three games on the trot for six years.
“I was never able to get match fit and since I have been here, and at QPR as well, I am getting a good base of match fitness slowly.
This was the best I have felt, a lot of energy and I am happy with things.”