Cole: 'Untouchable' Shearer is permanent England fixture

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Andy Cole has launched an amazing attack on England captain Alan Shearer, labelling him an "untouchable" member of the national team regardless of his form.

Andy Cole has launched an amazing attack on England captain Alan Shearer, labelling him an "untouchable" member of the national team regardless of his form.

And with Kevin Keegan set to name his squad for the two Euro 2000 play-offs against Scotland next week, Cole has threatened to walk away from England in protest.

Manchester United striker Cole has won just five England caps and believes that a succession of strikers have not been given a fair chance because Shearer is England's "chosen son".

Cole made the claims in his book 'Andy Cole - The Autobiography', which is being serialised by the Sunday Mirror, starting tomorrow.

He said: "You are supposed to pick your best 11, not shape every possible strategy around the supposed Golden Boy. If you are having a bad patch you should be left out, but because he was Alan Shearer, famous striker and England captain, that appeared to be enough.

"There must never be a rule for one, then different rules for the rest. It only allows discontent, accusations of favouritism and worse to creep into the dressing room."

There were suggestions that Shearer would be axed from the England team during a dismal run in the Euro 2000 qualifying games.

Cole added: "If you are having a bad patch you should be left out. But because he was Alan Shearer, famous striker and England captain, that appeared to be enough."

A spate of goals for Newcastle since the arrival of Bobby Robson, and a hat-trick at Wembley against Luxembourg, appears to have cemented Shearer's place in the starting line-up.

Cole, however, said the current situation had led to "frustration, dejection, and even the serious consideration of whether it's all worth the hassle.

"In the end, you start wondering whether you actually want to play for your country ever again," Cole said.

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