Football: Martins Scotches Talk of Criticism; United Medics Do Excellent Job, Insists Hernia Victim Obafemi

Article excerpt

Byline: Luke Edwards

OBAFEMI Martins has denied criticising Newcastle United's medical staff following a suggestion from one of his advisors the club had failed to diagnose a hernia problem.

Criticism of Newcastle's medical team is rare to say the least, with the likes of Craig Bellamy, Kieron Dyer, Shay Given, Michael Owen and Alan Shearer all going out of their way to praise the work done behind the scenes during their various injury problems.

Martins, who could be playing again in less than two weeks' time after he has been operated on by renowned groin specialist Dr Ulrike Muschaweck, has moved quickly to distance himself from comments reported in Nigeria, which took a swipe at Newcastle's injury record as well as their care for the striker.

He said: "I wish to make it perfectly clear that I have never criticised the medical team at Newcastle United, who all do an excellent job for the club. All I am concentrating on is getting fit again as soon as possible so I can be back playing and helping the team."

Privately, United are furious at the comments made by Dapo Kujore - who is not Martins' agent but is linked to the player's management team - in which he attacked the medical staff for failing to diagnose the former Inter Milan's hernia injury earlier.

Kujore said: "The Newcastle medical staff are woeful - Oba has been having this problem on and off and they failed to spot it. It was only when he went to Italy that the correct diagnosis was made, and he will have the operation this week. Look at the entire team. Viduka is injured, Alan Smith is injured, Nicky Butt is injured, and so many players. …