Football: Shearer plays full match

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Alan Shearer took another step closer to full recovery from injury yesterday by taking part in a practice match with Newcastle United's juniors.

The pounds 15million England striker, who has continued to make excellent progress in his recuperation from a serious ankle and leg injury, lasted the whole game at the British Gas Training Ground.

Newcastle, struggling for form in the Premiership, are in need of a boost to their morale and the return of the prolific striker cannot come soon enough for the manager, Kenny Dalglish. Shearer also needs to recover fitness and form in front of goal to aid England's World Cup cause.

United would make no comment, with Dalglish and his assistant, Terry McDermott, away watching a game, but Shearer's appearance in the match suggested his return to the first team could come in the near future.