Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Oba Is Raw and Has Real Talent I Would Love to Work with Him

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Oba Is Raw and Has Real Talent I Would Love to Work with Him

Article excerpt

Byline: By John Gibson

John Tudor walks proudly tall in the history of Newcastle United, one half of a devastating partnership with Malcolm Macdonald.

For four seasons in the early 70s Tudor and SuperMac terrorised defenders in the old First Division.

Seventy three goals scored in the livery of the Magpies from 216 appearances, including an FA Cup final at Wembley, are the bare statistics Tudor has left behind on the Tyne.

Now a respected soccer coach in America's Midwest, Tudor recently returned to his spiritual home of St James' Park and his honest assessment of United's current No 9 Oba Martins is a fascinating insight into the make-up of a pounds 10m import from a man who was a successful striker himself.

Tudor believes Martins is a fabulous natural talent as raw as a blood-red steak, a player he would love to get hold of and coach in the finer arts of playing up front.

"Martins has fantastic natural ability," said John.

"He's blisteringly quick, strong, and has two great feet. He can beat a man on a tanner.

"But when it comes to team play, to the art of playing up front, he's so raw and naive.

"He can look clueless at times, yet he has phenomenal natural gifts.

"I would really love to get hold of him and coach him."

Tudor, back in England over the holidays, travelled up to Newcastle from Ilkeston, where he was born and family still live, to watch the games with Reading, Chelsea and Spurs and, because he was a striker himself, was drawn more and more to monitoring Martins closely.

"I don't know what he learned at Inter Milan, what sort of coaching they gave him," said United's old star.

"But he's still a baby in terms of general play. He only comes alive when he gets the ball.

"At times he lacks movement for the midfield players to slide him in around the penalty area and other times when Newcastle are defending he strolls around as though lost.

"He drifts back at corner kicks, for example, inviting central defenders to go with him and threaten United's goal.

"Martins is seriously quick like SuperMac was, but Malcolm was more thoughtful in his play and scored more goals than this guy will get because he hit the target more frequently when shooting.

"However, technically Martins is much the better, frightening, really in what is God-given.

"Players coming out of Africa often have that wonderful natural athletic ability but are naive in the tactics of football.

"Freddie Adu, the wonderkid over in America, is like that ( a phenomenal talent. You never really know their age either ( Adu seems to have been 15 for five years.

"If Newcastle get hold of Martins on the training pitch and really teach him the basics of forward play, as I'm sure they will, he has a real chance because he has everything a striker needs in his armoury. …

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