Shearer issue not clear cut

Last updated : 16 March 2003 By Martyn Elliott

A number of journalists have interpreted his interview with The Observer as a plea for Sven to recall him, but that isn’t actually what Shearer says.

"I would be lying if I said I didn't miss playing for England. I still feel I could do a job for England, in fact I know I could," he said.

"It's difficult because I think I have benefited from my decision to retire. Something had to give, and I don't miss the criticism, that's for sure. But equally I had some great days [with England] and it's not something you throw away lightly.

"I wish there could have been more, but that's life. I do feel strange when there's an England match nowadays. The manager usually gives me a couple of days off, and that's good, but it's not the same."

Surely there would be something wrong with a former international player if they didn’t miss playing for their country, but it doesn’t mean that he is about to come out of retirement even though he is clearly the best English striker around.

But equally Sven would be mad if he didn’t want Shearer back in the team and with two vital games coming up for England he must be tempted to put the onus back on Shearer by offering him a recall.

Perhaps more worrying was Shearer’s admission that he doesn’t know how much longer he’ll go on for.

"I have a year left on my contract, and I don't know how long I'll carry on after that but I don't think I'll be looking for another club.

"I'll finish at the top - I've already made that promise to myself. I won't go down the leagues.

"Management does interest me, but I'm not thinking about that at the moment. It's for the future. At the moment I'm just glad I'm playing, and I want to go on playing for as long as I can."

It’s good to here that Shearer won’t ruin his legacy by plodding around the lower divisions after he should have retired but lets hope that his decision to quit doesn’t come too soon.

His penalty at Charlton has taken him to 144 goals for Newcastle and two more seasons may see him surpass Jackie Milburn’s all time record of 200, which would be a fitting conclusion to a great career.