Woodgate backs Shearer to take charge

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The Independent Online

The former Newcastle United defender Jonathan Woodgate is confident Alan Shearer could fulfil a management role at St James' Park if he wanted to.

The former Newcastle United defender Jonathan Woodgate is confident Alan Shearer could fulfil a management role at St James' Park if he wanted to.

The 24-year-old, whose departure for Real Madrid came just a few days before Sir Bobby Robson was sacked, believes Shearer could do the job.

"Alan Shearer is an exceptionally unbelievable player," Woodgate said. "There's no doubt he can take over, but I don't know if he will - that's up to him."

Woodgate, who returned to Newcastle's training headquarters following his £13.4m move to Spain to present Robson with the Real Madrid shirt he wore when he was unveiled at the Bernabeu Stadium, dismissed claims of a dressing room rift in the latter days of the 71-year-old's reign.

"Everyone got on well and treated Bobby Robson with the utmost respect for what he's done in the game," he said. "That's just paper talk and it was totally untrue."

Meanwhile, the Middlesbrough-born defender admitted he would not be surprised if Robson found another job to extend his 54-year career in football.

"Without a doubt - there's no question in my mind - he'll most certainly be back in football, and the sooner the better for football," he said. "He's a brilliant manager and a brilliant bloke."

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