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Unlucky, but were we ever going to beat them? - 02/10/2002

Unlucky, but were we ever going to beat them?
Perhaps he can be Owen's partner
   Steven Gerrard
   David Beckham
   Emile Heskey
   Nicholas Barmby
   Alan Shearer
 Leagues & Cups:
   Champions League
   Football Association

Juventus away was always going to be the most difficult of the Champions League fixtures, but we put up a good show and were slightly unlucky. Alan Shearer scored a goal that was unfairly ruled out, and there were a number of near misses and good saves. Having said that, I really never felt that Juve would lose the game. They did enough, without ever being forced to move into fifth gear.

We’re four points behind Kiev and the UEFA Cup must be the focus of attention now. It can be done especially as the Ukrainians have yet to come to St. James, but it’s not going to be easy. We haven’t scored a goal in the three games which, being selfish, still makes me the clubs top scorer (although I'd have swapped the title for three points)! I still fancy Kieron Dyer or Alan Shearer to overtake me, and they’ve got three games to catch me (this year at least!)

Speaking of Kieron, I think he’s quite enjoyed his more adventurous role. He’s even been quoted in the media that he fancies playing up there for England. His pace is absolutely crucial, it allows midfielders to put the ball in front of him and just let him run on. The problem comes when he reaches the box – he’s not what I call a natural finisher. Some players are blessed with an ability to score goals and some aren’t! If you look at Mick Quinn, he scored bags of goals but doesn’t even come close to Kieron’s ability. The difference being that Quinny is a natural goal scorer, a player with the ability to poach goals. You can’t say that about Kieron.

One thing’s for sure…ask Kieron if he’d rather play upfront for England or on the left wing, you know now what he’d say!!! He’s never a left-winger, but then again, neither is Nicky Barmby or Emile Heskey. If I were a coach I’d select players who naturally fit into the positions on the park. Playing people on the left who are right footed doesn’t work. Their natural game is to in on their right foot and in doing so, you’ve immediately narrowed the pitch. That’s keiron’s problem, throughout his England career he’s been asked to play an unnatural role. Even under Kevin Keegan he played right back on his debut. If you want to see Keiron do well, you’ll need to see him in centre midfield – although David Beckham and Steven Gerrard may have something to say about that!

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