Newcastle boss Pardew: I offered No9 shirt to Ba last week

Newcastle United star Demba Ba has turned down the No9 shirt.

Newcastle United star Demba Ba has turned down the No9 shirt.

Pardew insists the powerful front man can follow in the footsteps of great Toon talismen such as Alan Shearer, Les Ferdinand, Malcolm Macdonald and Jackie Milburn.

Pardew offered Ba the chance to wear the Toon’s famous number nine jersey vacated by £35million Andy Carroll last week, but the striker ­politely declined — insisting he is happy wearing 19. And Pardew said: “He can have number 19 as long as he likes.

“It’s perhaps a bit early to put him in the category of great strikers you’ve had here but he’s made a good start to becoming one of those — the Shearers, the Ferdinands, you know.

“He’s made a great start.

“If he keeps on scoring at this rate the fans are going to love him even more.

“We’ve given him a platform to do so well. He’s got good players around him and that always helps, not that I’m taking anything away from him.

“The goal against Manchester United was a class finish.

“He didn’t toe-poke it, it was a guided volley. You can’t defend that — that’s where he is at the moment. He’s in tremendous form.”

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