Shearer in training but not for Newcastle coaching role

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The Independent Online

Alan Shearer turned up at the Newcastle United training ground yesterday morning and pulled on his shorts, but the man Kevin Keegan would love to add to his backroom staff was doing nothing more than keeping fit and was not involved in any coaching. It may be interpreted differently elsewhere but Shearer is sharpening his fitness for a Sport Relief charity bike ride from Newcastle to London. That begins next Thursday with St James' Park the start-point.

Shearer met some disabled fans while at the training ground and then went to the gymnasium. It is not the first time he has been at the training ground since Keegan replaced Sam Allardyce as manager in January: Shearer plays some small-sided football with friends in the indoor arena.

He remains a sporting ambassador for the club since his retirement and was present, along with Keegan, owner Mike Ashley (in a suit) and chairman Chris Mort at Shay Given's charity evening at St James' on Tuesday night.

Shearer had lengthy discussions with Keegan about a role at the club when the latter came back but has declined to become involved and continues to work for the BBC as a pundit.

Sam Allardyce, meanwhile, has hit back at suggestions that Newcastle were not fit enough during his eight-month spell at St James' Park.

Winger Damien Duff last week was quoted as saying fitness had improved under Kevin Keegan but Allardyce has described that as an excuse as the Magpies continue their Premier League descent.

Allardyce said: "There wasn't anything wrong with match fitness when I was there. That's a bit of an excuse. Sometimes fitness is a mental thing.

"The fear factor can drain an awful lot out of players so that may be the problem. There is also a lack of confidence and it can boil down to that, not a lack of match fitness."

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