Kevin Nolan has been paying tribute to Shola Ameobi.
The former Newcastle striker turned 36 today and his former teammate, now manager, says that Shola has been ‘a fantastic addition to my squad’.
Arriving as a free agent in February Shola Ameobi has now made 25 league appearances for Notts County, after helping them pull away from the relegation zone last season, the one-time NUFC forward has helped them to currently be in second position of League Two.
Nolan says that when Shola told him he was thinking of retiring, his reaction was ‘you’re joking aren’t you?’.
The Notts County boss describes his player as a leader on and off the pitch, somebody who he would want ‘in the trenches’ with him.
Kevin Nolan speaking to the Nottingham Post:
“When I rang Shola back in January he told me he was thinking of retiring.
“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.
“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.”