Football: Shearer still England's top strike option
Friday 27 August 1999
"Whatever is happening there at Newcastle, I'm saying to Alan Shearer `there isn't a single strand of doubt in my mind that you're an England- class player, you're quality, you'll score goals for England and you'll lead England'," the England coach insisted yesterday.
"If you start using statistics, you'll see a fantastic centre-forward who is scoring goals," Keegan added. "I really don't have to defend Alan Shearer. His record stands up to anyone's, anywhere in the world."
Keegan was responding to questions about the alleged rift between Shearer and Ruud Gullit, his manager at Newcastle. Gullit omitted Shearer from his side's starting line-up for the Premiership match against Sunderland on Wednesday.
Newcastle lost 2-1 and Gullit has remained unrepentant over his decision to leave Shearer on the bench until the final stages of the home defeat. "When Alan Shearer went on, we lost. What's the conclusion?" he said.
Keegan insisted that he would be prepared to drop Shearer from the England team if he thought that the player was no longer good enough. "I wouldn't be scared to do it if I thought it was right," Keegan said. "But everyone knows what I think of Alan Shearer. Nothing I have seen in the last week or 10 days has changed that.
"He'll have had times in his life when things have gone better for him both personally and in the teams he's played in. But in the four games I've been in charge for, in my opinion - and that's what counts if you're picking the team as England manager - he's been outstanding and he has scored twice.
"I still see the qualities whereas I think a lot of people out there are ignoring them."
Those views, however, did not stop Keegan feeling "saddened" at the current state of affairs at Newcastle, where the fans have had just one point from a possible 15 to cheer this season. "I had five great years here and nothing happening there gives me any satisfaction at all," Keegan said. "I know where we took the club from and what the potential is, and I know the fans," he added. "Newcastle is something that means something to me so for me to talk about it would be wrong. I've never got involved in it."
Latest in Sport
England vs New Zealand second Test match report: England’s bold boast turns into hot air and humiliation
Fifa corruption: Sepp Blatter's right-hand man Jerome Valcke 'sent' $10m payment to Jack Warner in letter from the South African FA
England 'favourites' to host 2018 World Cup after Sepp Blatter resignation - Qatar and Russia under pressure
Michael Schumacher: Bernie Ecclestone reveals why he can't visit former F1 champion because he 'doesn't want to see him like that'
Brendan Rodgers' job safe for now but Liverpool owners plan for improvement
- 1 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
- 5 We have six months to save the world, says leading economist
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...
£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...
£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...