Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Premier League

Shearer hails Carroll for staying 'mentally strong'

Former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer has praised Andy Carroll's mental strength in bouncing back from his off-field problems.

The 22-year-old, who scored his first goals for new club Liverpool in Monday night's crushing 3-0 Premier League victory over Manchester City, repeatedly found himself in the headlines for his activities away from St James' Park.

However, Carroll's form on the pitch won him a £35m January move to Anfield, and Shearer has been hugely impressed by a player with whom he worked briefly during his eight-game spell as manager of Newcastle in 2009.

He said: "Andy is excellent. I like the way he bullies defenders. He's a no-nonsense type of centre-forward: technically good, devastating in the air with a rocket left foot, and deceptively fast.

"What's more, Andy is mentally very strong, which is so important. During all his off-field problems up here, he never let anything affect his game."

Shearer, who works as a BBC pundit, also revealed he has been close to accepting a first permanent managerial post after failing to be put off by his time at St James', during which he was unable to prevent the club from slipping out of the top flight.

He said: "Yes, I have had interviews and got close to taking a managerial job. I loved my eight weeks at Newcastle, despite the way it ended. I would seriously consider going back into football, but it would have to be right. It's imperative that you have a chance of success at your first job. That's what I would be looking for."