England Caps : 63
Goals : 30
Player : 1992 - 2000
Alan Shearer was the epitome of the classic hard working English-style centre-forward and led the England forward line for nearly ten years leading the team as captain too. With good hold-up play, excellent heading skills and the ability to strike fearsome shots both in open play and dead ball situations, he amassed a total of 63 caps and 30 goals, an excellent average scoring rate.
Journey SouthAlthough a Geordie through and through, Shearer was initially spotted by Southampton and scored a hat-trick on his first start in the 4-2 defeat of Arsenal; he is still the youngest player to do so in the First Division (which was then the top division). He featured in the England U21 side in the 1990-91 and scored on his debut for the senior side in a friendly against France in February 1992.
Graham Taylor took Shearer the European Championships of 1992 but only played in one group match, against France, alongside the man he would replace, Gary Lineker. An injury depleted England side managed by Graham Taylor went out early, coming bottom of their group, but Shearer’s promise was evident as ambitious Blackburn Rovers bought him for £3.5 million.
Euro 96: Shearer’s Finest HourUnfortunately a snapped ligament kept Shearer out of all but three of the Word Cup 1994 qualifiers and England ultimately failed to go through. At Euro 96, England qualified as hosts but Shearer hadn’t been scoring in the friendlies in the build-up. That all changed at the tournament itself as Shearer scored in the first group game against Switzerland and against Scotland, then two in the rout of Holland.
A nervy quarter-final against Spain ended in a goalless draw and a rare England penalty shoot-out win saw them through to a semi-final confrontation with Germany. Shearer was at it again, scoring in the 3rd minute from a Gascoigne corner. Germany ultimately equalised and then won the penalty shoot-out, going on to win the tournament.
Disappointment at England’s exit was alleviated to some extent for Shearer as he picked up the award for the tournament’s top scorer with five goals, then he came third in the FIFA World Player of the Year, behind Ronaldo and George Weah. At club level, he turned down Manchester United to achieve his ambition of playing for Newcastle United, then managed by his boyhood hero Kevin Keegan, for a then world record £15 million transfer fee.
Captain Shearer at the World CupShearer scored five times for England in the 1998 World Cup qualifiers but then broke his ankle. When fit again, England manager Glenn Hoddle appointed Shearer captain. Shearer scored in the first group match against Tunisia and then took the penalty in the quarter-final against Argentina which brought England level at 1-1.
Another exchange of goals saw the score at 2-2 but then England had to fight a rearguard action after David Beckham’s 67th minute red card. Shearer buried his penalty in the resulting shoot-out but Ince and Batty missed theirs and England were on their way home again.
Euro 2000Although still England captain, after England had qualified for Euro 2000 after a two-leg play-off with Scotland, Shearer announced that he would retire from international football after the tournament, at the age of 30, so as to prolong his club career.
The tournament was a mixed bag for Shearer. England lost their first group game against Portugal, but then beat Germany, for the first time in a competitive match since the World Cup final of 1966. Shearer scored the only goal, a trademark powerful header after a whipped-in Beckham free kick had been missed by the German defence. Unfortunately England then lost the final game to Romania 3-2 and didn’t get through the group stage.
End GameAlan Shearer did succeed in prolonging his club career, finally retiring in 2006 when a knee injury robbed him of playing in Newcastle’s last three games of that season. He appears regularly as a pundit on BBC’s Match of the Day and is working on his coaching qualifications.
He ended his international career as joint fifth top scorer for England, alongside Nat Lofthouse and Tom Finney and is openly admired by former England greats such as Jimmy Greaves and Bobby and Jackie Charlton.