Alan Shearer believes Andy Carroll has the ability to follow in his footsteps and become a regular choice for England and a "fearsome" centre-forward.
Carroll won his third cap as a last-minute substitute against Wales last month and retained his place in the squad for Friday's decisive qualifier in Montenegro despite unconvincing club form and Fabio Capello's concerns over his lifestyle.
"I do see him as an England centre-forward. One hundred per cent," said Shearer, who led the line for England through 63 caps in which he scored 30 times. "Wayne Rooney will always be No 1 [choice]. Andy can be [the] No 9 [to Rooney's 10] and he will be. Once he settles down, starts to play well and score goals, you will see the fearsome centre-forward that we saw at Newcastle and you'll see the reason why Kenny Dalglish paid £35m for him."
Earlier this year Capello publicly warned Carroll that "he needs to drink less" and "be careful" with his lifestyle, much to the irritation of Dalglish and to Shearer's surprise.
"If that were me I wouldn't have been happy if [Capello] had come out and done that in public," said Shearer. "I have been brought up with managers who tried to deal with it in-house. I was slightly surprised when [Capello] came out and said that.
"Andy is quite shy. He's still relatively inexperienced. To have that £35m [tag] is a lot to deal with. People shouldn't forget that a lot of these guys, myself included, were brought up on council estates, not [having] great education. At 16, 17, 18, you are thrust into the spotlight, you're on £1m, £2m a year, expected to handle all the stuff thrown at you, but they are normal guys. It's sometimes difficult to handle."
Shearer made his England debut as a 21-year-old – Carroll was the same age for his, against France – and also had to deal with the added pressure brought by a huge transfer fee, a then record £15m. That took him home to Newcastle from Blackburn, where he had won the league under Dalglish, and Shearer claims that the Scot's presence at Anfield is ideal for Carroll.
"It has not gone as well as he would have hoped," said Shearer of the move to Liverpool, with Carroll only scoring his first league goal of the season against Everton at the weekend. "He is certainly with the right guy – Kenny – to see him through. He is a nightmare for defenders if given the right service and if he is fit enough. I'm not sure he is 100 per cent fit as yet. Andy hasn't quite got to the heights I know he can get to because I have seen him in training.
"Andy's been brought up in an area where – how can you put it? – people enjoy their life. And that is all he has known. He is still young in life as well as experience. When I moved to Blackburn, I had great guidance from Kenny. I know Kenny hasn't changed and I am sure he will protect Andy and look after him like he did with me.
"He's got a great manager who understands the trials and tribulations of being a young footballer."Reuse content