Shearer says: “England haven’t got any world class players yet, we might have in a year or two”
Coral football ambassador Alan Shearer had plenty to say to our own John Hill when they sat down and spoke exclusively about England under Gareth Southgate.
Shearer also discussed the international future of Wayne Rooney. Check out his thoughts in full in the videos below, but we’ve also supplied the best quotes from Alan too!
“Joe Hart and John Stones were the only two positives”
“Not very exciting was it?” Shearer said when asked about England’s recent World Cup qualifying win over Malta. “We should’ve scored more goals, but it was a win for Gareth in his first game. It’s something to build on.”
Moving on to discuss the goalless draw in Slovenia, Shearer added: “I thought it was very poor. I think the only two positives to come out of the game were Joe Hart, who I thought was brilliant, and John Stones, who I thought again improved and put in a good performance.”
“Other than that, it was very much like what we’ve seen in the summer, but in Gareth Southgate’s defence he’d had five days to work with the players. You can’t do a lot and improve much in that time. We are just not very good at this moment in time.
“It’s going to take a little bit longer to get where we want to be and people will probably have to have a little more patience. We haven’t got any world class players yet, we might have in a year or two’s time, but it’s not very good.
When asked where England need to improve, Shearer continued: “All over the park. We have to look at our players on a weekend in the Premier League and those players now have to go and perform at international level.
“But our players look better on a Saturday because they’re actually playing with better players at their clubs. It is tough to take for England and for fans.
“We can’t compete at the minute with Germany or France or Spain or Argentina or all these big nations who we’re expected to.”
“Southgate said all the right things and made a big decision”
Has Southgate done enough to get the job permanently? Well, Shearer is certainly backing his old England teammate for the position.
“It’s actually impossible for him to go out and improve that team with five days training,” Shearer said.
“We looked at the Euros, we looked at our first game under Sam [Allardyce] and he has a bunch of players who are struggling for form and struggling for confidence in an England shirt.
“I did believe it was the right appointment. I still believe it’s the right appointment. I think he’s handled himself extremely well in front of the cameras.
“He’s said all the right things, made a big decision and, despite a very poor performance in Slovenia, they came away with a point and they’re still top of the group.”
Next up for the Three Lions is a British derby with Auld Enemy opposition Scotland before a friendly with Spain, and Shearer feels both temporary boss Southgate and FA chiefs will want to see decent displays.
“Not only will the FA be looking for two good performances, but Gareth Southgate will be desperate for two good performances,” Shearer said. “I think everyone has to realise that if they didn’t give it to Gareth, then who were they going to give it to?
“Who is going to go out and significantly improve these players over a period of three or four weeks? It’s virtually impossible to do that, so it’s a tough job and situation he’s in, but he’s the right man.”
“Wayne hasn’t been playing for Man Utd… so when that happens you can’t complain”
And so to the big issue of dropping Rooney. “If anyone was in any doubt whether Gareth could make big decisions, then they had their answer,” Shearer continued about this situation. “It was a big and brave decision to leave him out.
“I fully understood the decision. Wayne hasn’t been playing for Manchester United, and when he has been he hasn’t been playing well, so when that happens you can’t complain.
“It wasn’t a great performance from England without him in the team; too slow in possession and they didn’t move the ball quick enough. They were lucky to come away with a point.”
Where does Rooney fit into England and does he have an international future? “He’s got to get back into the Manchester United team,” Shearer added.
“That’s the first thing he has to do, because when you’re not playing for your club team, you can hardly be expected to play for your international team.
“I do think he’s still got a future with England. I personally thought he should’ve retired after the European Championship, but I admire that he wants to carry on and I admire his determination.
“Until someone better comes along and takes that shirt off him, then I think he feels he is going to stay for the next couple of years.”