Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Is Time Ticking Away for Talented Martins?

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Is Time Ticking Away for Talented Martins?

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Obafemi Martins has the attributes and the ability to become a success at Newcastle but do United have the time to wait for him to find his feet? Luke Edwards reports.

It looked as though it was going to be another frustrating outing for Obafemi Martins, a couple of missed chances and a header which hit the crossbar, the Nigerian international was left squeezing his head in frustration as Newcastle left the pitch to a chorus of boos at half time.

But, a little over 45 minutes later, and Martins left the pitch knowing he had help dig a spluttering side out of the darkest looking of holes with a burst a speed in the box, a tackle lured, a penalty earned and then converted. It was a vital goal ( now Martins must ensure it is the first of many.

At pounds 10m, Newcastle needed Martins to slot straight into the side, hit the ground running and reward Glenn Roeder's faith in the priceless currency of goals. Instead, like many foreign footballers in the Premiership, Martins has taken time to adjust and a record of just three goals in 16 appearances before last night's vital penalty is not the return the club envisaged on their major summer investment.

However, to expect Martins to slip into English football and effortlessly pick up the goalscoring burden left by Alan Shearer's retirement, always looked an ambitious one.

While Roeder may have claimed when he arrived that Martins had been his first choice to fill the void left by the departure of the club's captain and talisman, what he probably meant was that Martins was one of his first choices.

By his own admission, Roeder believes the 21-year-old might need as long as a year to acclimatise to English conditions, as well as its style and culture of football. But, as soon as Michael Owen's knee crumpled in Germany, United could not afford to sign only one striker they would have to wait six to 12 months to see the best of.

Roeder will have known that and he would have wanted at least one more forward in his squad before the close of the transfer window. …

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