Shola tips Sammy for success
Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi would love to see his younger brother Sammy surpass his own achievements in the game.
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The Ameobis would become the third pair of siblings to start a senior competitive game for the Magpies if Alan Pardew gives them the nod against Club Brugge at St James' Park on Thursday evening after George and Ted Robledo in the 1950s and Matty and Richard Appleby four decades later.
Shola, now 31, broke into the first-team squad under Sir Bobby Robson as a teenager and now midfielder Sammy, almost 11 years his junior, is attempting to do the same.
However, the older brother is convinced the younger has a massive future in the game.
Shola said: "There's nearly 11 years between us, so when we were growing up, I think he was maybe a little bit intimidated by me, which is normal.
"He's trying to go through what I've been through. But we have got a great relationship now.
"I feel that as a big brother, I have to make sure he's on the right track all the time. I know my parents expect that of me, and it's something I'm conscious about doing.
"I'm sure he's well aware of how hard it's going to be and what he has to put in to make it to the very top.
"But I want to see him surpass anything I've ever done in this game and I know he has the ability to do that. He can do that, without a shadow of a doubt."
Ameobi senior, who unlike his brother, was born in Nigeria, but raised on Tyneside, has had to deal with injuries and the pressure of being the local boy during his rise from promising starlet to senior frontman.
The wisdom gained during that, at times, difficult journey has served him well over the years, and he is hoping he can pass that on to Sammy as he attempts to negotiate a similar path.
Shola said: "I don't coach him because I don't profess to be a coach, but I try to explain to him what I've been through.
"I try to tell him about the mistakes I've made along the way - which are a few - and try to help him not to repeat them.
"I just try to give him encouragement because that's important in this game. You need people to tell you when you're doing things right, as well as when you're not.
"I try to be a big brother to him and help him in that way."
Pardew has confirmed that the younger Ameobi will start, along with Northern Ireland international Shane Ferguson and midfielder Cheick Tiote, who will spend much of the next month kicking his heels after being sent off in Sunday's 1-1 derby draw at Sunderland.
Pardew said: "They are two players, I think, who can effect the first-team at this football club and take us forward as a club.
"It is a big game for them and they are training very, very well. We hope to see some fine performances from those two in particular tomorrow."
Skipper Fabricio Coloccini, who made a stunning return from injury at the Stadium of Light before succumbing to cramp in both calves 10 minutes from time, will not figure as Pardew keeps one eye on Sunday's Premier League fixture against West Brom.
Newcastle are yet to concede a goal in four games in Europe and currently sit a point clear at the top of Group D, although the manager is expecting a tough test from a Brugge side which had not lost in the Pro-League until Saturday's 4-1 defeat at Leuven.
He said: "We have to respect that Brugge are top of the league. We did that with Bordeaux and put a team out that was very strong, and the same will go for Brugge."