Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Roeder Rubbishes Moans at Martins

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Roeder Rubbishes Moans at Martins

Article excerpt

Byline: By Stuart Rayner

Glenn Roeder has spoken out to dismiss criticism that Obafemi Martins is "just" a goalscorer as inaccurate and irrelevant.

Despite having netting 14 goals in his debut season for Newcastle United, the Nigerian has been criticised in some quarters for making a minimal contribution to overall play.

Former West Ham United manager Roeder thinks the complaints about his pounds 10m signing from Inter Milan are misguided ( not that he would mind if all his main striker did was find the net regularly.

"Oba Martins' first port of call is scoring goals," he reminded the critics. "Having said that, not only does he score goals, he's learning all the time about playing in the Premiership ( the different style of play, the different tempo to Serie A.

"But if you're a striker you're paid to score goals. I see too many strikers who don't get double figures every year but don't half run around. Oba does what he's paid to do ( the first requirement of a striker is to score goals."

Even so, he believes the complaint that Martins does little outside of the box is wide of the mark.

"In the first half against Wigan the other week he was involved for the whole of the first 45 minutes," Roeder argued. "His play outside the box was excellent. He was involved in everything that happened outside the box ( and he had a few chances as well. In the second half we didn't give him any service."

With between 11 and 16 United games left this term, depending on their progress in the Uefa Cup, Martins is six goals short of 20 for the season. It is an impressive tally considering he managed just three in his first 16 games in English football. "I think it's very possible he can get the half-dozen goals that will take him to 20 in his first season after such a slow start," he said. "That would be remarkable and I'd like to think if he does that he will get the praise he deserves. …

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