Operations for Shearer and Seaman

Football

The prospects of Newcastle United winning their first major trophy since 1969 - which have always seemed entwined with Alan Shearer's fitness and form - were placed in jeopardy yesterday when the England striker had an operation on his groin.

Another England player, David Seaman, also went into hospital last night for an exploratory knee operation. Seaman has already missed Arsenal's last three games and sat out England's World Cup defeat by Italy. Arsenal should have a better idea before the weekend how much longer their goalkeeper will be out of their Premiership title challenge.

The most optimistic estimate for Shearer's return is a month, by which time Newcastle's assault on the Premiership and the Uefa Cup could have been derailed. However, this is the third time Shearer has had an operation on the injury in eight months, suggesting a longer lay-off may be necessary for a proper cure.

Even if he emulates his extraordinarily quick recuperation of last autumn, he will miss both legs of the Uefa Cup quarter-final against Monaco and five League matches, including the potentially decisive away matches at Liverpool and Wimbledon.

The worry for England's coach, Glenn Hoddle, is that both Seaman and Shearer could be ruled out of England's friendly match against Mexico at Wembley on 29 March.

Graham Courtney, a Newcastle spokesman, said that Shearer had not been "the Alan Shearer Newcastle fans know and love. He's been struggling with the injury and now he's had an operation to rectify the problem. We look forward to having him back as quickly as possible."

Shearer, who cost Newcastle a world record pounds 15m when they bought him from Blackburn last summer, was out of action for just over a month after surgery in the wake of the 5-0 defeat of Manchester United on 20 October.

He missed England's 2-0 victory in Georgia in a World Cup qualifier and six Newcastle games, only two of which were won, before returning for the 1-1 draw at Chelsea on 23 November. Since then, Shearer has scored 15 goals in 18 games, taking his tally for the season to 23 and reviving Newcastle's title hopes in the process. That operation followed another last May, which at one time threatened his place in the England squad for the European Championship finals. He recovered to play a key role, but the surgery proved to be only a temporary success.

Certainly, the England coach suggested yesterday that all has not been well with his principal striker for some time when he admitted the latest operation had been inevitable. "I've been aware of the problem and there's no doubt that it needed to be dealt with," he said. "Alan has kept me informed of his plans over recent days and Kenny Dalglish, and I want him back as soon as possible."

Shearer played in the 1-0 win at Middlesbrough on Saturday which lifted Newcastle to third place, six points adrift of leaders Manchester United with a game in hand. He had a quiet game, however, and his failure to get a goal ended his hopes of scoring against all 19 Premiership opponents this season, a feat for which the bookmakers had offered odds of 500-1 at the start of the season.

Dalglish has Faustino Asprilla to come in and partner Les Ferdinand, but his attacking options have been reduced by the sale of Darren Huckerby to Coventry shortly before Kevin Keegan's departure and that of Paul Kitson to West Ham two weeks ago.

Seaman, who first felt pain in his knee when he slipped while getting to his feet after stretching out on the floor to watch television, played in Arsenal's FA Cup defeat by Leeds three weeks ago despite the pain. It has hardly receded since then and Arsenal today took the decision to send him for an arthroscope examination, in which a microscopic camera is inserted into the damaged area.

More football, page 27

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £30,000+

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for individual...

Recruitment Genius: IT Project Coordinator / Manager

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy