SHEARER: I WANT TO STAY AT THE TOP
Alan Shearer has given his reasons for deciding to quit international football after Euro 2000.
Speaking at a press conference at St James’ Park on Monday afternoon, Shearer said that although it had been a tough decision, it was one he had thought about carefully, and nothing would change his mind.
“I want to remain one of the best and to do that I need to pace myself more,” said the 29-year-old. “If I continue to play 11 or 12 months a year then I don’t think I can remain at the top. Hopefully Newcastle and myself will benefit from my decision.”
Shearer clearly sounded like a man who was not going to be moved.
“I have done it for my own reasons. I want to stay sharp and fit. I do play a tough and physical game and I didn’t want people to say that I was slowing down.
“I want to remain at the top of my game at Newcastle for as long as possible. I want to concentrate on Newcastle United and them alone for the rest of my career.”
Shearer revealed that Kevin Keegan had tried to talk him out of the decision, arguing that Shearer had a couple more years left in international football at least.
“I told him on Monday afternoon and he went through everything,” added Shearer. “One or two things were said but he knows what I am like and I won’t change my mind.
“I didn’t want to announce it before the England or Newcastle games because I thought it would overtake the games and doing it this week gives it time to get it out of the way.
Although the news came as a shock to the footballing world, Shearer said that it was something that he had been thinking about for some time.
“I have been thinking about it for four or five months. It’s not something that just suddenly occurred to me, but it gives Kevin Keegan a chance to plan for the World Cup.”
So when he made his decision, was it one that touched him with sadness?
“Without doubt. I have been playing for my country for about eight or nine years now, non-stop, and it was a very tough decision. I just hope it’s the right one for me and Newcastle. Hopefully it will benefit England as well.”
SHEARER TO QUIT ENGLAND AFTER EURO 2000
Alan Shearer has stunned the football world by announcing his intention to retire from internationals after this year's European Championship finals.
The England and Newcastle skipper, 29, issued a statement after his side's win at Sheffield Wednesday, in which he scored in the 2-0 victory.
"After a huge amount of thought I have decided to retire from international football. I would like to play, if selected, in Euro 2000 and then bow out so that the manager has time to plan effectively for the 2002 World Cup," he said.
"I have spoken to both Bobby Robson and Kevin Keegan and they understand my reasoning."
He said: "I want everyone to understand that I am not walking away from a challenge. I am hugely patriotic and my time as England captain has made me incredibly proud.
"However, I realise that if I want to give Newcastle value for money in the remaining four years of my contract with them, I will need to pace myself a bit more than I am able to do at the moment," he added.
"If there was an injury crisis or real need for me to help out, I would always be honoured to answer the call. However, football is about planning for the future and hopefully my decision today will help England become even more successful in the coming years," he concluded
England coach Kevin Keegan revealed that he had attempted to persuade Shearer to change his mind but insisted that 'everyone should respect his decision - I certainly do'.
Shearer informed the England manager of his intention to bow out of international football this summer 24 hours before England played Argentina at Wembley last Wednesday.
Keegan added: "Of course I was very sad and I tried to persuade him to change his mind. But I know that what makes Alan Shearer special is that he is his own man."
FA chief David Davies admitted that Shearer's decision to quit international football had come as a 'surprise'.
"His decision is a surprise...but Alan has never let (us) down, and he has always given 110% for his country. He is in the record books as one of England's great goalscorers," he added.
His club boss, Bobby Robson, said: "In my opinion he could have gone on at international level perhaps another two seasons but he wants to come out of it at the very top when people remember him as a great international player and I applaud him for that."
The news will come as a shock to England fans but will give the country's array of younger strikers the chance to forge a meaningful offensive partnership ahead of the 2002 World Cup.
The fair-headed hit-man recently came in for criticism by certain fans for a number of lacklustre performances. However, only last September he hit a hat-trick in the 6-0 rout of Luxembourg.
He has plundered 28 goals in 57 appearances for England.
ALAN SHEARER - HIS LIFE AND TIMES
Born August 13, Newcastle.
International record: 57 caps.
International goals: 28
Joined Southampton in April. Became the youngest player to score a Football League hat-trick in a 4-2 win over Arsenal at The Dell.
Scored three goals in 26 league matches for Southampton in the 1989-90 season.
Called up by England Under21 squad, ultimately scoring 13 goals in 11 appearances.
Made his senior England debut at Wembley on February 19, scoring in the 2-0 win over France.
Named in England squad for European championship in Sweden and played in 0 0 draw against France.
Joined Blackburn Rovers on July 24 for a British transfer record of £3.6m. He scored twice on his Blackburn debut in 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace. Scored 22 goals that season.
Voted English Footballer of the Year after scoring 34 goals in the 1993-94 season.
Steered Blackburn to their first championship in 81 years with 34 premie league goals.
Voted Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year.
First player to reach 100 goals in premier league.
Top scorer in Euro 96 with five goals.
Moved to Newcastle United for a then world record transfer of £15m. He scored 112 league goals in 132 games at Blackburn.
Suffered a serious knee injury during a pre-season tournament at Everton's Goodison Park in July and was out of action for five months.
Returned to league action in January. Took Newcastle to FA Cup final which they lost 2
0 to Arsenal.
Played in 1998 World Cup, scoring twice.
Took Newcastle back to Wembley for FA Cup final. Newcastle lost 2-0 to Manchester United.
Dropped by Ruud Gullit who left him on bench for game against local rivals Sunderland.
Returned to form after Bobby Robson appointed Newcastle manager, equalling premier league record with five goals in 8-0 thrashing of Sheffield Wednesday in September.
Also scored hat-trick for England against Luxembourg.
Scored his 250th career goal at Blackburn in FA Cup fifth round match.
Announced international retirement after Euro 2000.
Shearer wants to go out on a high
England captain Alan Shearer has confirmed that he will retire from international soccer after the EURO 2000™ final round, but added that he wanted to end the tournament as top scorer. That is hardly an idle wish, as Shearer was top scorer in EURO 96™ with six goals, and he also scored six in England's EURO 2000™ qualifying campaign.
Best yet to come - Shearer
seemingly guaranteed a place in the England line-up for the competition after
his recent renaissance, also revealed his interest in becoming involved in
management in the future.
"Hopefully the best is yet to come," the 29-year-old Newcastle United FC striker, top scorer at EURO 96™, told a news conference at his club's training ground.
"I want to finish top scorer in EURO 2000™ and I want us to win the trophy."
Shearer, who has scored 28 goals in his 57 England appearances, announced his plans to quit the England set-up in a statement on Saturday night after Newcastle beat Sheffield Wednesday FC 2-0 at Hillsborough.
"I've made my mind up, and once you've made your mind up you don't go back," he said.
Shearer said he had told England and former Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan last Monday, after discussing his plans with current Newcastle manager Bobby Robson, that he would not be available for the 2002 World Cup.
"One or two things were said but he knows what I'm like, he knows me more than most," Shearer said of Keegan. "He wasn't going to change my mind."
The striker said Keegan had wanted him to make an announcement on Tuesday, before England's friendly against Argentina the next day, but he had decided not to because he did not want to overshadow the match at Wembley.
"It was a very, very difficult decision," he said of his retirement plans. "It did take a lot of thinking about. I've talked to a lot of friends and family over the past few months. It's a big decision but I know it's the right one."
Shearer repeated that he would remain available in an emergency and had put no limit on his playing career, but he needed to pace himself if he was to remain one of the best strikers in the country.
"That means over the summers having a break when England are playing. Over the last ten years I think I've been playing 11 and a half, 12 months of the year. That can't go on forever. I wanted to do something about it before anyone else could," he added.
"I don't want anyone telling me in a year or two, or three or four or whatever that I'm slowing down. I want to do it my way and I've done it."
Shearer tore cruciate ligaments in 1992 and also had surgery on damaged ankle ligaments in 1997, but he insisted the operations had not affected his form so far. He said he had not been influenced by considerable media criticism since England squeezed into EURO 2000™. Asked when he was taking over as manager of Newcastle, Shearer laughed and said: "good question".
Pressed on the issue, the player said he hoped to have "four good years" left as a Newcastle player and while management interested him, "certainly not at the moment".
He promised to put all his efforts into playing for Newcastle and revealed that Robson was pleased with developments.
Shearer also announced that his wife was expecting their third child, due in September, and he wanted to spend more time with his young family.
"The wife is pregnant again which is another big reason for it, it'll start showing soon. I've got two little girls who are seven and five and very important as well."