Once playing up front as the striker for Newcastle United, Foluwashola Ameobi was a true contender even in his early days.
Later he scored important goals for Newcastle, including the Champions league goal against Barcelona in Nou Camp on December 11, 2002.
Ameobi was sidelined for five months during 2006/07 after a hip operation in November 2006. He has all but disappeared, and his career with Newcastle is in real peril.
But last weekend he was recalled to the first team by Kevin Keegan to fight against Bolton. This was his second senior action for Newcastle this season since the League Cup tie at Arsenal way back in September.
"Obviously, it was a special match for us with the gaffer Kevin Keegan and I think we gave it everything we could out there," Shola told the official site. "Bolton played really well and defended really well and we came away with a draw but that is the start of things to come. It is the second time for us as players, for the manager, and for the fans."
Called back for the game last weekend to fill the gap left by Mark Viduka (suffering a calf injury), Ameobi battled it out alongside Michael Owen in the full 90 minutes.
"I was so pleased with Shola Ameobi," comments Keegan. "He hadn't played or trained and I asked him yesterday morning if he would go substitute and get 30 minutes out of it. Then I had to go and ask him to play 90 minutes...But the game was better than any training sessions. He was blowing a bit at the end, but did well for us."
Signing with Newcastle United Academy on July 1, 1995, Shola did not make his debut for the senior team until five years later under Sir Bobby Robson. His first senior team debut was in September 9, 2000 in a home draw against Chelsea. His debut for England U21 took place in 2000/2001.
Shola still has a year left on his current contract with Newcastle, terming out at the end of the 2008/2009 season.