Shearer says: “Watch my interview with Coral on Sam Allardyce, Wayne Rooney and the England team”
Sam Allardyce’s reign as England manager begins with a 2018 World Cup qualifier away to Slovakia on Sunday, and Coral’s football ambassador Alan Shearer had plenty to say to our own Simon Clare about everything to do with the Three Lions.
Shearer on England’s recovery from Euros and Allardyce
When asked if England players will find it difficult turning out for their country for the first time since the embarrassing Euro 2016 exit at the hands of Iceland, Shearer said: “No, it’s not tough, because what you want to do is get out and play straight away.
“The criticism was right in the summer, but [the players] now want the chance to put that right. The quicker you can get out in a England shirt, then the better it is.”
Shearer doubts we’ll learn much about the Three Lions in World Cup qualifying, because this hasn’t been an issue for a number of years, but when they reach another tournament that’s when we’ll see what the players are made of.
“We know with Sam Allardyce that he will do it his way,” Shearer added of the new England boss. “He will not be afraid to upset the media, the FA, the fans and players.
“He will not be afraid to upset big name players, and if players have to be left out because they’re not performing well he will do that. If he has to win a game by playing ugly or playing percentages, he will do that.
Shearer feels the ends justify the means from Allardyce, if he gets a winning mentality into the camp and finds a way of removing the shackles from England players.
Shearer on Big Sam’s selections
Highlighting the notable absences of Jack Wilshere and Ross Barkley from Big Sam’s first England squad, Shearer said of the former: “He couldn’t pick Jack Wilshere, because he hasn’t started any football games. It was a no-brainer. Allardyce couldn’t put him in the squad.”
Shearer also supports the recall of Leicester City midfielder Danny Drinkwater in Wilshere and Barkley’s stead, adding he feels the Premier League title winner should’ve gone to Euro 2016.
“[Michail] Antonio was a surpirse selection,” Shearer continued. “No one saw that coming, but Sam was at Man City on Sunday to watch him play [for West Ham]. He put in a good performance and got another goal. He will give energy and a goal threat.”
Shearer adds Antonio’s call-up will give hope to others, drawing comparisons to Jamie Vardy’s similar journey from non-league to Premier League and the England setup.
Shearer on Rooney as England captain
Moving on to discuss Wayne Rooney retaining the England captaincy, Shearer feels the Three Lions’ record goalscorer is remaining skipper due to a lack of alternatives.
“As time goes on, people might jump out at Allardyce and give him different options [to think about],” former England captain Shearer added, who also highlighted that Rooney may no longer be an automatic first-choice player.
“He’s got to go out and perform for Man Utd. He’s got players now who are putting pressure on him at Manchester United and also with England.”
Shearer on England v Slovakia
“England should go there and win,” Shearer said when asked about opponents Slovakia – a side against which they played out a goalless draw in the Euro 2016 group stage.
Stressing the need to put in a better performance than when last playing Slovakia, Shearer added of Allardyce’s expectations: “He’ll be looking for goals. He’ll be looking for a confident performance.
“I know it’s only been a short time [in charge], but I’m sure this week he’s been working on his ideas.of what he wants the players to do.”
When asked about what key players Allardyce will be counting on besides Rooney, Shearer said: “He’ll be looking at John Stones, who’s had a very good start to the season.
“He’ll be looking at Joe Hart also. He’s another one that will want to be getting out in an England shirt to try and rectify what went wrong in the summer.
“He’s got decisions to make all over the park really. Certainly in the centre forward position, because Harry Kane has looked very sluggish in the games for Tottenham this season.
“He’s looked a yard short, whereas Vardy’s now up-and-running, off the mark, scoring a goal, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Sam was to go and pick him instead of Harry.
Of eye-catching Manchester City performer Raheem Sterling, Shearer added: “He’ll be playing in a very different system in the England setup to the one he has been playing for Man City. He’s looked in sparkling form, both creating and scoring goals.”
You’ll find more interviews with and analysis from Alan in the Shearer says archive.