Sir Bobby backs Shola

Last updated : 12 September 2003 By Martyn Elliott

But the youngster bounced back with a top-class display for England Under-21s against Portugal on Tuesday, when an almost criminal refereeing decision handed the Portuguese a victory that knocked David Platt’s side out of the European Championships.

"I hope Shola's performance on Tuesday night will have silenced a few fickle people,” said Sir Bobby.

"I was delighted for the boy at the way he played against Portugal, and I have taken time out to speak to him today about it. I was absolutely delighted for him that he played so well.

"What must not let happen is that fickle people bury the boy. He's a great boy and one of our future players.

"He's a Newcastle boy who loves the club and I love him and we have helped to make him what he is.

"He had a rough week. He had three hard games and he didn't do as well as he should have done. He knows that and we know that but we cannot write him off.

"The boy is a fantastic young talent. He proved it against the Portuguese the other night and how many clubs in this country would take Shola Ameobi?"