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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 March 2007, 13:15 GMT
Roeder heaps praise on Martins
Obafemi Martins
Martins has scored 16 times in his first season with Newcastle

Newcastle United boss Glenn Roeder heaped praise on Obafemi Martins after seeing the Nigerian striker fire Newcastle to within sight of the Uefa Cup quarter-finals.

The 22-year-old struck twice in Thursday's 4-2 defeat of Dutch side AZ Alkmaar to take his tally for the season to 16.

Roeder's men head for Alkmaar next week knowing they still face a major test if they are to kill off Louis van Gaal's side, but a similar display from Martins could prove decisive.

"What he has grown into is becoming a Newcastle United player," said Roeder.

"He came from Inter Milan and I said from the very beginning, when he was not scoring goals, the culture of Italy, the culture of living in Milan would be slightly different to living in Newcastle.

"He had to get used to living here first of all, then he had to get used to playing in the Premiership, which is nothing like Serie A.

Glenn Roeder
Whatever you say he can do and cannot do, Oba can score goals, and that is what I want from my strikers
Glenn Roeder,
Manager of Newcastle United

"He was always going to take time to settle in.

"This is no criticism of Andriy Shevchenko because he is a world-class footballer, but he is 29, 30 years old and look how hard he has found it to adjust to the Premiership.

"Whatever you say he can do and cannot do, Oba can score goals, and that is what I want my strikers to do. That is what they are paid to do, score goals.

"They are not paid to run around like headless chickens and chip in with one goal here and one goal there.

"I want my strikers to score goals, and he is doing that very well - and, whatever he does this season, he will do even more next year."

Newcastle were 2-0 up after 22 minutes before Martins then cut in from the left and drilled home a low shot barely a minute later.

After AZ pulled one back, the Nigerian added his second when thumping home Nolberto Solano's cross.

AZ coach Van Gaal also praised the Super Eagles, despite having warned his players of the threat the striker represented.

"We have seen the confirmation. I know the quality of my own players, but I also know the quality of Obafemi Martins," the former Barcelona boss explained.

Newcastle 4-2 AZ Alkmaar
08 Mar 07 |  Europe


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