Notts County boss Kevin Nolan hails evergreen striker Shola Ameobi as a driving force


Notts County boss Kevin Nolan has hailed Shola Ameobi’s professionalism and says the evergreen striker is a driving force in his dressing room.

Ameobi celebrated his 36th birthday on Thursday and shows no sign of calling it quits on a career that has spanned 17 years.

The forward has become a huge hit with the fans at Meadow Lane, having joined the club last January initially until the end of last season.

But such was his impact, he was handed a new contract in the summer and has become one of Nolan’s key men in the squad given his experience.

And, having watched him celebrate his birthday, Nolan says signing Ameobi has gone down as an excellent bit of business for the Magpies.

“When I rang Shola back in January he told me he was thinking of retiring,” he said.

“I said ‘you’re joking aren’t you?’. I said he still had lots and lots to offer and he obviously came here and we got him fit over time.

Shola Ameobi turned 36 on Thursday

“We could see the influence he was having on a lot of players not just on the field but off it too.

“He brings that calmness and it wasn’t just about him coming in and scoring goals.

“It was about what he brings defensively and offensively from set-pieces. He is a leader. I’ve been in a dressing room with him before at Newcastle where I was the captain.

“You knew that if you needed somebody in the trenches with you, he’d be one in there and the same with Smudge (Alan Smith).

“When I spoke to him then again in the summer, he was training every single day.

“When you get to 34 and 35, you’d always find those players would always have a day off from the running.

“It would always be their back because you can never prove it is ever a real problem, but Shola’s not like that. He just drives the running on along with Smudge, Jon Stead and so on.

“It’s been absolutely brilliant. Shola is one of those players in the dressing room who not only demands respect but gives it to everybody else too.

“He’s been a fantastic addition to my squad.”



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