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Page last updated at 11:36 GMT, Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Newcastle striker Ameobi excited by Nigeria call-up

By Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport, Lagos

Shola Ameobi in action for Newcastle United
Ameobi has opted for Nigeria 10 years after his first call-up

Newcastle United striker Shola Ameobi says he is relishing the chance of winning his first Nigeria cap.

Ameobi, 29, who has played for England Under-21s, has been called up for a friendly against Guatemala next month.

Meanwhile, Wigan Athletic's England under-21 star Victor Moses has also been named in the squad.

Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia said Moses was "proud" to be given a chance, but his club told the BBC they had not been notified of his call-up.

Ameobi was born in Zaria, northern Nigeria, before moving to England with his parents at the age of five and was first called-up by the national team 10 years ago - a call he turned down.

"Although it was a tough decision back then it was obviously the best one for my career," he said.

"I had only just got started for my club, I needed to establish myself at club level and so much travelling would cost me that progressive start I deeply craved."

Victor Moses in England top
Victor Moses has already represented England Under-21s

But the 29-year-old Ameobi met Nigeria coach Samson Siasia this month and decided the time was right to make the switch.

"It's the first time since 2001 that I finally met anyone from Nigeria concerning the national team," he told the BBC.

"The coach was absolutely brilliant with his plans and ideas from grassroots to the national teams - I didn't think twice about finally returning home."

The friendly against Guatemala will be played in the United States on 9 February but it still unclear whether Moses will also be in the Nigeria line-up.

Coach Siasia told the BBC he met Moses, who was "proud to be given a chance" by Nigeria, but the player is still recovering from injury.

His manager at Wigan Athletic, Roberto Martinez, recently said the player must consider his options carefully.

"Nowadays, when you represent your country you need to give up a lot of time and make a lot of commitments in a busy schedule," Martinez said.

"Only the player can make that decision - he really needs to play for the nation that he feels is his nation."



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see also
Wigan 0-1 Newcastle
02 Jan 11 |  Premier League
Wigan lose Moses for three months
02 Dec 10 |  Wigan


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