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Shearer v Beattie - 16/12/2002

Shearer v Beattie
And the 'Beat' goes on...
   James Beattie
   Alan Shearer

Unfortunately I missed Saturdayís game as I was covering the Boro v Chelsea game for Tyne Tees. Talking of which, Chelsea were really impressive and look very good for at least a place in the top four. Having seen the match highlights from St.Maryís, and listened to the post-match interview of Gordon Strachan, is seems the game was even better than the one at the Riverside.

The pre-match hype was all about Shearer v Beattie, and as Iíve had the pleasure of playing with both lads, itís been quite interesting to hear peopleís views. Itís as obvious to say they are both class players, as to call them the Master and Apprentice. For me, I feel that the claims of Beats being up there with Al are a little premature. Thatís not to say he canít get very close, heís got time on his hands and can develop further.

However, if thereís one striker to be compared against, itís Alan Shearer. Look at the record books, look at his injuries, look at who heís played with Ė itís not as if heís been at Championship winning teams whoíll create chance after chance for him. Just imagine if, perish the thought, heíd gone to Man U after he left Blackburn. For all the obstacles that have been thrown his way, he overcomes them all, and the recent calls for an England return are testimony to his present form.

Beats is more athletic than Al, heís also deceptively quick, certainly a lot quicker than Al. Heís good in the air, can hold the ball well, and can knock them in from all angles and distances. He didnít have it very easy when he came down from Blackburn, but that didnít do him any harm. At 23 heís now maturing, and this season has seen him playing at another level. In the past heís perhaps lacked a bit of consistency, but thatís part of growing up. For me, he can certainly be a big International player, the call from Sven must be coming soon. But that consistency needs to be a permanent fixture, if he can add one or two improvement to his game, then heíll come really close to Shearer.

But remember that Alan Shearer is the record Premiership scorer, his club chairman has recently called him the greatest ever Newcastle centre forward (beating Albert Stubbins, Jackie Milburn, Malcolm MacDonald, Kevin Keegan, and Peter Beardsley). His recent form has also lead to a number of media personalities calling him the best ever Premiership striker, if Beats can get close to Al, then heíll have a absolutely fantastic career to look forward to!

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