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About Alan:

Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer is the Premier League's all-time top scorer with 260 goals and a leading TV pundit from the BBC's flagship football programme Match of the Day. Euro '96 Golden Boot winner Alan will be sharing his thoughts on all things football every week throughout the 2016/17 season.

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Shearer Says: “Red-hot Vardy deserves chance to take centre-stage for England”

England legend thinks Leicester striker deserves to play under Hodsgon

I am sure Roy Hodgson is going to experiment in the two friendlies coming up. He has to do that in at least one of the games, if not both, with many starting places up for grabs there is a chance to stake a claim for a starting XI place before Euro 2016.

I’d expect Jamie Vardy to get a chance to try and transfer his club form to the international stage. He deserves the chance to do that, playing as a centre forward, as his record has been exceptional this season. I don’t want to see him play on the left or right, he has to start down the middle, if fit.

Soccer - UEFA Euro 2016 - Qualifying - Group E - England v Estonia - Wembley Stadium

Hodgson’s men still have plenty to prove ahead of Euro test

These two matches are a really good marker for where England are at the moment, ahead of Euro 2016 next year. They are both glamour games as they are two of the biggest footballing nations in Europe. Because of the ease of their qualifying campaign it will be good to see how they get on against better opposition.

Spain v England - International Friendly - England Training Session - Rico Perez Stadium

That’s not to say we should not be encouraged by the results but we can’t get too excited just yet because the big test is yet to come. We can only judge ourselves in a main tournament.

We should not be classing ourselves in the same league as Spain at the moment because the truth is we can’t compare against their recent record in tournaments. They are a long way ahead of us and we have a long way to catch up. We haven’t been at that level for a long time. Euro 96 and maybe France 98, were probably the last times we went into a tournament with a realistic chance of winning it.

Friendlies are very different to competitive games. I had two years of them up to Euro 96. But the closer you get to a major tournament, the more important they become. People have a point to prove to the manager.

There are a few positions in Roy’s team that are not nailed down to a certain individual. From now until the beginning of Euro 2016, there will be people looking to impress the manager and try to earn one of those spots in the tournament. From that point of view, the friendlies are important, however you are never going to get a 100% mentality as you would for a competitive game.

Chelsea slump gives top four chance to Spurs & Liverpool

I don’t think anyone in football would have said, prior to a football being kicked this season, that Chelsea would not finish in the Champions League spots. If there ever was a certain bet before the season got underway, it was Chelsea to finish in the top four. They still can because with the players they have, they are very capable of going on a run of winning 10 or 11 games on the spin. Last weekend was probably their best performance in five or six weeks against Stoke, without getting anything from the game.

It is now a big opportunity for Spurs and Liverpool to try and pick up one of those top four spots. I know Liverpool were beaten last weekend at home to Palace but they have some stability now to build on. Tottenham have also been on a fantastic run and there is a big opportunity for them to qualify for the Champions League this season.

Klopp’s side must win in style to keep fans on side

Jurgen Klopp was not happy last week that some of the Liverpool fans were leaving before full-time against Palace but he only picked that up because his side were losing. When you consider prices for tickets nowadays in the Premier League, there is a demand to entertain and a lot of the genuine die-hard fans can’t go to the games anymore because they have been priced out of it. It is a lot more corporate now and you don’t deliver, they leave. It’s up to the teams to keep them in there.

Soccer - Capital One Cup - Fourth Round - Liverpool v AFC Bournemouth - Anfield

The hardcore fans turn up to watch their team come rain, snow or shine. They stay right until the end. There is not as much atmosphere as there used to be at games, largely because of all-seater stadiums, to be honest. And the clubs are, without a shadow of doubt, pricing the proper fans out of the game.

Ireland face tough test to join Home Nations in France

When you consider how they were knocked out the last time they were taking part in a play-off for a major tournament, with the Thierry Henry handball, Ireland will be desperate to make it through to Euro 2016. They will look and see that England, Wales and Northern Ireland have all qualified so they will want to get there to join them.

Soccer - Martin O'Neill File Photo

It is going to be a really hard test for them though as this is probably the toughest draw they could have got. They are going to have their work cut out, but I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed as I’d love to see them make it through.

Moyes still the man for a Premier League job

David Moyes left Real Sociedad this week and despite it not working out in Spain, he is still a good manager. He wouldn’t have been given the opportunity at Manchester United if that wasn’t the case. He’ll still get a job in the Premier League. It might have to be a club in the bottom half of the table but he will be able to rebuild his reputation.

Soccer - Pre Season Firendly - Atletico de Madrid v Real Sociedad - Rico Perez Stadium

I don’t think he will get a top 6 club after what has gone on in his last two jobs but you have to remember his success at Everton. The first aim of three quarters of the teams in the Premier League is to stay in the top flight and he is more than capable of doing that.


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