Shearer set to call time on career

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The Independent Online

Alan Shearer is expected to announce his retirement from football officially within the next 48 hours, following the result of preliminary scans which confirmed fears that his career has come to a premature end.

The injured Newcastle United captain is scheduled for a follow-up X-ray today after initial tests revealed serious knee ligament damage in the wake of his accidental collision with Sunderland midfielder Julio Arca.

Shearer has been told the injury he sustained in the Wear-Tyne derby victory at the Stadium of Light can have anything up to a three-month recovery period, with a minimum of eight weeks, meaning the 35-year-old has kicked his last ball in anger.

The Newcastle caretaker manager, Glenn Roeder, admitted: "The scan has revealed quite serious medial ligament damage. In the normal scheme of things you'd be talking around eight to 12 weeks recovery."

Shearer misses the final three games of the season that he was due to figure in before his planned retirement at the end of the campaign.

The former England striker is now investigating ways of how he might be able to play some kind of limited role in his sell-out testimonial against Celtic at St James' Park next month.

Roeder added: "He'll have another scan when it's settled down to see if there are any further problems, because the first one revealed ligament damage.

"I'm hoping he'll be back in the dug-out with me for the final few games, but I'd much rather have him out on the pitch."

"I've got the scan tomorrow afternoon and hopefully I'll know a lot more then," Shearer said. "I'm praying it's not the end.

"I'd dearly love to play a small part in the remaining games but it all depends on tomorrow."

Shearer, sporting a leg brace, added: "I'll feel a lot better if the specialist says I'll be OK. If he doesn't I'll cross that bridge when I come to it but my glass is always half full, not half empty." Shearer had admitted on Tuesday night that he was "fearing the worst".

The former England striker, who has indicated that he would like to try his hand at coaching in years to come, revealed today that he will be on a residential course in May and June to tackle the first part of his Uefa 'A' coaching licence.

Michael Owen's battle for World Cup fitness will go down to the wire, meanwhile. Shearer's Newcastle team-mate had been pencilled in for a return from his fractured metatarsal at Birmingham next weekend, but is likely to play only one game for Newcastle before the end of the season - probably the final game, against Chelsea.