Alan Shearer fires in a shot against the USA at Wembley in 1994.
By Tony Stevens. Friday, 15 July 2005.
Alan Shearer is the local lad who went on not only to captain the team he adored as a schoolboy, but also his country, notching up 30 goals in 63 international caps to share fifth place in the all time England goalscorers list.
Such was his importance to the English national team between the years of 1992 and 2000 that he was made captain of his country by Kevin Keegan in 1999, leading England to the 2000 European Championships in Holland and Belgium.
Shearer scored on his international debut against France at Wembley in 1992, leading to him being drafted into the squad for that year’s European Championships in Sweden. Although he failed to score at the tournament, he seemed set to be the obvious replacement for the outgoing Gary Lineker.
After England failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup, Shearer’s first chance to impress at the highest level came at the 1996 European Championships in England. He took the opportunity with both hands, claiming the tournament’s Golden Boot with 5 goals, including what was perhaps England’s greatest ever team goal, finishing a beautiful move between himself, Paul Gascoigne and Teddy Sheringham in a 4-1 win against Holland.
His successful strike partnership at international level with Sheringham helped England qualify for the 1998 World Cup in France, but the partnership was broken up at this tournament due to the emergence of a young Michael Owen, ousting Sheringham from the starting line-up as England were knocked out in the second round on penalties by Argentina.
Shearer remained an ever-present for England as new manager Kevin Keegan built his team around his new captain for Shearer’s international swansong at the 2000 European Championships. But although Shearer headed the winner against arch-rivals Germany, England crashed out at the group stage after defeat to Romania, ending Shearer’s international career on a sour note.
At club level a young Shearer shot to fame scoring a hat-trick on his full club debut for Southampton at the age of just 17. He went on to command transfer fees amounting to over £18 million in a career which has seen him net nearly 300 league goals.
Shearer only has one trophy to his name, but this is possibly his greatest achievement, winning the Premiership with Blackburn in 1995 after scoring 34 goals in a lethal partnership with Chris Sutton that season.
This prompted his home-town club Newcastle to splash out a world record £15 million fee for his services in 1996, and he hasn’t let them down, scoring 138 league goals in 271 games for the club, helping them reach two FA Cup finals in the process.
Such is his importance to the club and the city as a whole that Shearer, who will be 35 this August, has agreed to play on for yet another season after scoring 19 goals in all competitions last term and reaching a career total of 365 strikes.