Football: Time-scale threat to Shearer's sharpness

Alan Shearer will have just over a month of top-level football for Newcastle United in which to prove to Glenn Hoddle that he is ready to lead England's World Cup challenge.

Alan Nixon delivers the depressing news.

It was not the early Christmas present England wanted. Alan Shearer, striker supreme in the finals of Euro '96 and with a track record of recovering quicker than most from even the most severe injury, was not saying the words the country wanted to hear.

The injured England captain revealed last night that he does not expect to return to Premier League action until March, which leaves him around seven or eight club matches to find his shooting boots.

Shearer is back in training after breaking his ankle and damaging ligaments in a pre-season friendly, but he feels he will not be ready for a return to serious action for three more months.

"I'm running in straight lines, but I'm still not able to do any twisting or turning," he said. "The pins have come out of the ankle and it is just a matter of mending in time. But I've not changed my mind. It's looking like March before I will play."

That time-scale is cutting things fine for Shearer to lead the line as England go for glory in France next June. The domestic programme finishes early in May, giving him just a handful of matches for Newcastle to help his club and boost his own chances of playing for England in the world's greatest football tournament.

Wether or not Shearer goes to France depends on the England coach, Glenn Hoddle. "Obviously I will tell him how I feel and I'll be honest about it," Shearer said.

George Graham yesterday signed a pounds 1m-a-year, long-term contract to manage Leeds then declared their title aspirations this season to be "ridiculous".

The agreement puts the 53-year-old Graham in the same pay bracket as Manchester United's Alex Ferguson, Kenny Dalglish at Newcastle and Blackburn's Roy Hodgson.

Graham, who has singled out a place in next season's Uefa Cup as his initial aim, said: "I'm not a dreamer, I'm a realist. I'm not kidding anybody. The championship? Not yet, no. It's ridiculous. Leeds are not ready for that yet."

Also signing a contract yesterday was Mick McCarthy, adding two more years to his tenure as the Republic of Ireland manager. His target now is to qualify the Republic for the 2000 European Championship finals in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Wimbledon have been offered the chance of new home at Gatwick Airport. The proposal is to house the Premiership club, who presently share with Crystal Palace, on land just off the M23. The move comes in the wake of strong opposition to the idea of the Dons relocating to Dublin.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable