Owen backs Shearer for Newcastle

Departing Newcastle striker Michael Owen is backing former team-mate Alan Shearer's bid to become the club's permanent manager.

The 38-year-old, who took charge of the team he represented with such distinction for 10 years for the final eight games of last season, is currently waiting to hear if he will be appointed after stating his case to current owner Mike Ashley.

However, his plans for an immediate return to the Barclays Premier League are being delayed by the ongoing sale of the club with the players due to return for pre-season training next Wednesday.

Owen, who will be out of contract by then, admitted yesterday he will not be among them as he looks for another club, but he is in little doubt as to who the manager should be.

He told Sky Sports News: "I would like to think that Alan would be given the job.

"He is obviously a new manager learning his trade, but you have got to start somewhere and the indications from what I saw of him, he is going to be a top manager in the years to come.

"He is obviously Newcastle through and through, and that's important to the people of Newcastle.

"It's a club that not many people would understand, I would suggest, but he certainly understands it.

"He has certainly got the right credentials and I can't see any reason why he shouldn't be given the manager's job."

Shearer held talks with Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias in the immediate aftermath of relegation to the Coca-Cola Championship last month, but the continuing uncertainty off the field has left them unwilling or unable to make an appointment.

It is understood at least four potential buyers have expressed firm interest in taking the club off the sportswear magnate's hands, and some of them are currently engaged in the process of due diligence.

However, the prospective owners have made it clear that they want to install the new manager on their terms, leaving both Shearer and the fans in limbo.