Euro 2000: Shearer-critic Cole could be England captain's strike partner; Scots lose Johnson

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Andy Cole could wind up as Alan Shearer's England strike partner against Scotland in the Euro 2000 playoffs despite deriding him in a published autobiography.

Andy Cole could wind up as Alan Shearer's England strike partner against Scotland in the Euro 2000 playoffs despite deriding him in a published autobiography.

The Manchester United striker was recalled on Thursday to the England squad for the Nov. 13 and 17 games against the Scots amid an outcry over his published comments about the England captain.

In his book, Cole says he was annoyed that Shearer seemed to have an automatic place on the England team.

"Shearer has been the favorite, always-picked chosen son of all our national managers during the 1990s," he wrote. "It's an issue which always bugs me. ... I believe Alan Shearer's position should have been open to challenge. All of us had to fight for a place in England's front line because Shearer was guaranteed a place."

If Michael Owen's injury problems continue, Cole and Shearer could wind up side by side when the English face the Scots for a place in next summer's European Championship in Belgium and the Netherlands.

While Newcastle and former England manager Bobby Robson said Cole's criticism was "ill-advised", Keegan declined to comment on the Shearer-Cole situation when he announced his 24-strong squad on Thursday.

"I think it's for Andy to answer questions about that," Keegan said. "I had to ask myself: Should Andy Cole be on an England squad? On current form, the answer is definitely yes with a big 'y' in front of it."

"He's scoring goals for Manchester United," Keegan added. "Why should I close the door on him for something he said in his autobiography? He should be one of the five forwards on the squad. It's as simple as that."

The inclusion of uncapped Steve Froggatt of Coventry was the surprise Keegan had hinted at on Wednesday. Keegan has been looking out for a naturally left-sided player as backup for Phil Neville and the former Aston Villa player can play either on the wing or at leftback.

"Froggatt is a player I've looked at for a long time," Keegan said. "He's not had the best luck with injuries. But he's back playing now. He could be one of the answers to our left side problem."

He also has included Dennis Wise, who has been in standout form for Chelsea in the Champions Cup despite being in the middle of a four-game domestic suspension.

Scotland coach Craig Brown also announced his squad and England could already claim a 1-0 lead going into the first game.

Brown had hoped to include Ipswich striker David Johnson but discovered only Wednesday he was ineligible because he had an English mother.

"It was a surprise, because we were all led to believe that he was eligible," Brown said. "After a meeting with David's manager and his agent, and having established his capabilities and the player confirming his willingness to play for Scotland, we have now found out that his natural mother is English.

"That means he cannot play for Scotland and in fact can only play for England, not any of the other home countries."

The absence of Johnson, who has scored 10 goals in Ipswich's drive to join the Premier League, has left Brown with a weakened strikeforce.

Scoring has been Scotland's big problem during Brown's reign although the defense has been strong. The Scottish coach has recalled 33-year-old former team captain Colin Hendry even though the former Blackburn stopper has lost his place on the Rangers team.


Goalkeepers - David Seaman (Arsenal), Nigel Martyn (Leeds), Ian Walker (Tottenham).

Defenders - Sol Campbell (Tottenham), Tony Adams (Arsenal), Martin Keown (Arsenal), Gareth Southgate (Aston Villa), Rio Ferdinand (West Ham), Stephen Froggatt (Coventry), Philip Neville (Manchester United).

Midfielders - Trevor Sinclair (West Ham), Steve Guppy (Leicester), Paul Ince (Liverpool), Dennis Wise (Chelsea), Jamie Redknapp (Liverpool), Ray Parlour (Arsenal), David Beckham (Manchester United), Paul Scholes (Manchester United), Steve McManaman (Real Madrid).

Forwards - Emile Heskey (Leicester), Alan Shearer (Newcastle), Kevin Phillips (Sunderland), Michael Owen (Liverpool), Andy Cole (Manchester United).


Goalkeepers - Neil Sullivan (Wimbledon), Jonathan Gould (Celtic), Robert Douglas (Dundee), Alan Main (St. Johnstone).

Defenders - Colin Calderwood (Aston Villa), Christian Dailly (Blackburn), Colin Hendry (Rangers), Jackie McNamara (Celtic), Brian O'Neil (Wolfsburg), Paul Ritchie (Hearts), David Weir (Everton).

Midfielders - Craig Burley (Celtic), Colin Cameron (Hearts), John Collins (Everton), Callum Davidson (Blackburn), Iain Durrant (Kilmarnock), Ian Ferguson (Rangers), Don Hutchison (Everton), Paul Lambert (Celtic).

Forwards - Mark Burchill (Celtic), Billy Dodds (Dundee United), Kevin Gallacher (Blackburn), Neil McCann (Rangers), Gary McSwegan (Hearts).