Monday, July 31, 2006

A man of his word (of sorts)

Our ex-skipper and current club ambassador Alan Shearer announced this weekend that he's turned down new England boss Steve McLaren's invitation to join the international set-up alongside himself and former manager El Tel.

Shearer's reason for declining the invitation appears to be twofold: he had already verbally agreed to a contract extension with the BBC and is also keen to steer clear of the high-pressure side of football for the time being at least.

The story of McLaren's approach broke during the World Cup, which led to a mixture of flimsy denials and outright lies from Shearer. "It would interest me in the future and it's very flattering to be linked, but I haven't heard anything", he said, despite the approach having been made prior to the tournament starting. Why the secrecy, then? Perhaps just to avoid unnecessary distractions for the England squad, or to give Shearer time to mull it over.

Either way, McLaren doesn't seem to have been left even more red-faced than usual by Shearer's announcement: "I fully understand the reasons behind Alan's decision. He is a top professional and a great guy". And so say all of us. Enjoy your holiday, Alan - and don't come back till you're ready.


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