KIERON DYER last night begged Sir Bobby Robson to let him loose on Manchester City on Saturday.

Dyer, who was out for a month with a hamstring injury, came through Monday's reserve game against West Bromwich Albion unscathed.

Now he is desperate to return to first-team action at St James' Park this weekend, having proved his fitness for the second string.

Dyer, 24, said: "I'm keen to get back as soon as possible now and the Manchester City game is a big match for us.

"It would have been good to get a game a bit sooner after the defeat at Chelsea to get that out of our systems.

"I enjoyed getting a game for the reserves. I felt good and despite getting a bit of cramp near the end I'm ready to be considered for the first team.

"It's been frustrating being out because we've had a couple of good results and a couple of bad ones when I've been injured.

"I must admit I'm not the best watcher of games and it's even worse when we lose games like we did at Chelsea.

"Manchester City lost their last game as well, so they'll be looking to get back on track, and it should be a good game.

"After our bad start we've gradually picked up, and we know that three points on Saturday would help lift us further up to where we want to be."

Shola Ameobi was yesterday told that he can forget any thoughts about trying to play international football for Nigeria.

It was said at the weekend that the Newcastle striker was considering turning to the country of his birth after he was not named in the England squad for the friendly with Denmark.

Ameobi responded by insisting his heart is still with England after playing for the Under-21s and the FA have confirmed he could not change his mind, even if he wanted to.

An FA spokesman said: "Once a player has represented his country in a competitive international fixture - and Shola has played for England in several, including the Under-21s' last game in Istanbul - he cannot go on to play for another country."

Sven-Goran Eriksson gave Ameobi some hope of a call-up ahead of Euro 2004 when he admitted: "We're less covered up front than anywhere else in the squad."

l Michael Chopra and Steven Taylor are both in the England Under-20 squad for the World Youth Championship, which begins next week in Dubai.