Football: Shearer again pledges his future to Newcastle

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The Independent Online
NEWCASTLE STRIKER Alan Shearer is ready to commit his long-term future to his home-town club as he steps up the hunt for silverware.

The 28-year-old England captain reaffirmed his commitment to Newcastle after ignoring overtures from Manchester United, Barcelona, Juventus and Internazionale.

And although he believes there is still plenty of work to be done at St James' Park, he has not given up on his dreams of bringing the glory days back to the club.

"I still believe this club can win things," he said. "I've still got two years left on my current contract and it could take that long before we win something. I expect to see out that contract and I'm sure someone at the club will open talks on a new one soon."

Speaking at a benefit event for the Durham cricketer John Morris, Shearer added: "I've turned down Barcelona, Inter, Juventus and Manchester United to play here. I hope everyone already knows how much it means to me to play for Newcastle United."

Shearer's assurances will come as a boost to both the club's supporters and directors. Reports at the weekend hinted at a lucrative new deal with claims that an offer of the manager's job at a future date could be included.

Shearer remains Newcastle's biggest asset, and despite suggestions that he is yet to return to his best since the ankle injury which ruined his 1997-98 season, he is confident that he is as sharp as ever. He went into last night's Premiership clash with Coventry City having scored 11 goals during the current campaign.

Shearer's Newcastle future has been a popular topic of debate for the best part of a year, with his obvious frustration at his lack of scoring opportunities during the darker days of Kenny Dalglish's reign tempting potential buyers to test the water.

But whatever he may have thought privately, he has repeatedly denied rumours of a move, never more strongly than in the release of his latest statement.

Shearer joined United for a record pounds 15m in July 1996 as Kevin Keegan broke the bank to add the final piece to his jigsaw.

His partnership with Les Ferdinand was a resounding success, Shearer plundering 28 goals in 40 games before shattering his ankle in a freak pre-season accident at Goodison Park a year later.