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By ESPN Staff

Martins given compassionate leave from Newcastle

Newcastle striker Obafemi Martins' agent has revealed the striker's devastation at the death of his mother.

The 23-year-old Nigeria international has flown home to be with his family after being given compassionate leave by his club.

Agent Chris Nathaniel said: 'As you would expect, Oba is extremely upset at the moment.

'This has come as a massive shock to him and his family. His mother was a guiding light to him and had a strong influence on his life.

'At this difficult time for Oba and the family, it is important they are allowed to mourn their loss in private, and I hope the media allows them to do this.''

Martins has been withdrawn from the squad for tomorrow's friendly trip to Doncaster and could miss next week's Mallorca Summer Cup matches against Hertha Berlin and Real Mallorca.

A club spokesman said: 'Oba has flown back to Nigeria on compassionate grounds to be with his family at what is a very sad time for them.

'Everyone at the club extends their greatest sympathies to Oba and his relatives.''

Magpies boss Kevin Keegan finds himself short of strikers as his side's pre-season campaign gathers pace with Michael Owen recovering from mumps and both Mark Viduka and Andy Carroll in the treatment room.

However, Martins looked sharp in the 4-1 win at Hartlepool last weekend and the manager will hope he returns having lost little fitness, with PSV Eindhoven and Valencia due at St James' Park before the new Barclays Premier League season gets under way.

The former Inter Milan frontman has been repeatedly linked with a move away from Tyneside this summer with Arsenal among his admirers, but he has spoken of his desire to build on his blossoming relationship with the club's fans.

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