The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY -

SAMMY AMEOBI looked fan­tas­tic on his brief Bolton de­but last week­end. Strength, pace, tricks and shots – Southend could barely con­tain the lanky New­cas­tle loa­nee.

Ques­tion is, will he do it again next week? His­tory sug­gests no. Like Shola, his older brother who spent a decade in­fu­ri­at­ing Toon fans, Ameobi is a fine tech­ni­cian. Yet, like Shola, he’s as con­sis­tent as an English sum­mer.

“He’s an enigma,” said Rus­sell Slade, who spent last sea­son try­ing – and ul­ti­mately fail­ing – to wring a sus­tained show of class dur­ing a loan spell at Cardiff.

“We watched him in train­ing ev­ery day and he had fan­tas­tic abil­ity. Un­for­tu­nately, not al­ways has he trans­ferred that to the pitch.

“Oc­ca­sion­ally he has, and you think, ‘Wow, why’s he not in the side?’ Then, within a week, ev­ery­one says, ‘Ah, that’s why.”

Slade be­came so frustrated by Ameobi’s reg­u­lar van­ish­ing acts that he dropped him en­tirely.

In the winger’s de­fence, his ca­reer has been blighted by asthma. Prior to a change of med­i­ca­tion last year, he could barely last a train­ing ses­sion.

Now, fit­ter and stronger, he has less of an ex­cuse. His health prob­lems will prob­a­bly pre­clude a ca­reer at the high­est level but his cameo against Southend proved he could be a de­struc­tive force in League One.

The prob­lem is very few clubs at that level can af­ford a lux­ury player.

Ameobi must show he can be more than a fleet­ing men­ace. Fail and it’s dif­fi­cult to see many clubs pick­ing up the pieces.


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