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Alan Shearer – the best there is! - 19/01/2003

   Alan Shearer

What a legend Alan Shearer already is! His goal on Saturday just summed up the true quality of the man. His awareness, determination, and basically his clinical finish brought him a goal that some of the other top class strikers would never had scored. They say he’s lost a yard of pace and that may be so, but he’s simply transferred that yard into his head. When you analyse his goal, his first intention was simply to put Carlo Nash under pressure – a job that brings little glory but is to the benefit of the team. Once he spotted Nash’s hashed (sorry) first touch, his predatory instincts took over. He put everything into blocking the keeper’s attempted clearance, and the way he got to Nash was very impressive. OK, he may have been a bit lucky as the ball hit him and fell nicely, but hey…you make your own luck! Let’s take nothing away from Al, that was a fantastic goal!!

Knowing Kevin Keegan, he’d have given his pre-match team talk and stressed the need for City to keep it tight for the first few minutes - Steve Howey confirmed this in an interview after the game. To concede after ten seconds…well lets just say he wouldn’t have been happy! Overall I wasn’t that impressed with their performance, I’d expected them to do better although they still created chances. The win is great for the club, City’s away form going into the game was very good and although they were without a couple of their influential players, Bobby Robson would have been a very happy manager when the final whistle blew.

I was asked about Jonathan Woodgate on today’s Tyne Tees show, and although he’s a great player, I don’t think you can expect him to suddenly plug all the gaps. Whether he arrives or not, and not many players are transferred when carrying injuries, Newcastle’s style of play is responsible for the openness of our game. Yes, he’d a make a difference, but as an ex-defender, I know all too well that if the midfield players aren’t doing all they can to track back, you’ll be cut open.

Just a word or two about Sunderland…they’re got big problems! I can’t see Flo being there at the start of next season! We pointed out his reaction (or lack of it) on yesterday’s show, and for me, a player who didn’t show any of signs pleasure when his team went ahead in a vital game, is a player who simply didn’t care. You have to die for the cause, and if that’s not the case, he shouldn’t be in their team. Howard has, if he didn’t already know it, got a tough, tough, next few months ahead of him!

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