Since signing for Newcastle United in 1997, Shola Ameobi has seen almost everything. The 32-year-old striker has competed in the Champions League, the Championship, and all that falls between.

Over the course of his 16-year spell at Newcastle, Ameobi has never truly nailed down a permanent first-team place. Mainly down to the level of competition at the club, the powerful target man has spent plenty of time on the bench.

However, as he enters the twilight of his career, Ameobi is arguably in his best ever form for Newcastle. Partnering Loic Remy up front, the 6”3’ adopted Geordie provides the perfect foil for the on-loan Frenchman while leading the line exceptionally for the team.

His powerful play has been key for Newcastle’s recent fine run. The wins over Chelsea and Tottenham were certainly helped by the physical dominance of Ameobi up front, while he was desperately unlucky not to score against Norwich.

The most likely reason behind Ameobi’s good run of form is down to his international recognition. After refusing numerous call-up attempts from his native Nigeria, Ameobi is finally strutting his stuff on the international stage.

After scoring a well-taken volley in a recent friendly against Italy, Ameobi now has two goals in five games for the Super Eagles and is in with a fantastic shout of making the World Cup squad next summer.

And it is that thought that seems to be driving Ameobi forward in a black and white shirt, as the good form continues week after week. Alan Pardew has faith in his veteran striker and Newcastle fans must be wondering what a player they might have had in the last 16 years had he accepted the call from his nation.

As the season settles down and Newcastle eye a potential Europa League push, it could be their longest serving player that provides an unlikely catalyst for a European surge.