The Nigeria striker was outstanding for victory over Norwich City.
Pardew said: "Any manager, Chris Hughton will tell you, anyone who has worked with Shola will tell you he is a super lad, he is intelligent, bright and he is a really important person in the dressing room, even without playing football.
"He has had a lot of competition here, maybe one or two bad injuries, and when you are up against Alan Shearer you have a bit of a problem and perhaps he has paid a price for his loyalty in a way.
"But he is getting his rewards now he has that little bit of extra experience, his motivation in the dressing room is very high in terms of what he gives and that goes a little bit unnoticed. I really miss him on match days when he is not there.
"I have always said he gets himself up for the big games like the derby and probably in the past this has been the type of game where he has let himself down a little bit and lost his place. He won't be losing his place next week that's for sure.
"He has Papiss Cisse breathing down his neck. He knows he has to keep up that level of performance."
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