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'Shearer didn't challenge himself against the best' | John Giles on England XI

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

21:55 21 May 2020

Alan Shearer needed to move to Manchester United to challenge himself against the best in the world, according to John Giles.

Giles was discussing Shearer's omission from his all-time England XI, favouring Kevin Keegan, Jimmy Greaves and Wayne Rooney up front.

It was a philosophical difference that saw Giles omit the Newcastle United folk hero.

Shearer

"Shearer was a terrific player and I don't want to be disrespectful to him. He won a league medal with Blackburn and he had two opportunities to go to Manchester United, which he didn't take.

"He went to Newcastle. Newcastle were never going to win the league.

"His goalscoring record is great, but it is different scoring goals when you are at a team like Newcastle, in my opinion, where they weren't going to go down and they weren't going to win it.

"I know they made a challenge for it, but they were never going to be one of the winning teams."

Giles made a comparison to another famous provincial player that never hit the heights that he could have done had he taken the plunge.

"Tony Currie was a terrific player for Sheffield United. But when you have twelve matches to go and you're not going to go down or up - you can play exhibition stuff.

"I thought Shearer was a terrific player but I will always be disappointed that he didn't go to challenge the best at Manchester United. His goalscoring record was terrific.

"But those last ten matches - and I know myself from the last ten matches when Leeds were neck-and-neck with Liverpool - the pressure is unbelievable. You have got to do your stuff.

"But if you are in the middle of the table, you can just have a flick here and a flick there. There were a lot of players that played like that.

"These were all entertainers, and I have nothing against that, but they weren't winning matches. If you are half-way up the table then you are missing that pressure, that you have to do it under the most difficult circumstances."

File photo dated 24-05-2009 of Newcastle United manager Alan Shearer.

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Ciaran Bradley John Giles Newcastle United Shearer

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