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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 2018/19 season.

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Shearer Says: “Klopp to breathe new life into Anfield”

“Klopp to breathe new life into Anfield”

Nobody ever wants to see anyone lose their job, but I wasn’t surprised by the managerial casualties last weekend. Brendan Rodgers had gone through nearly £300m in transfer fees, so he was under pressure to win a trophy at Liverpool. I haven’t see them make any real progression from when he took over at the club compared to where Liverpool are at now with that group of players. When you look at who he has brought in, only Sturridge and Coutinho could be considered a success, but he hasn’t been able to get the best out of players like Lovren and Lallana who seemed to shine at Southampton, but then failed to do the same at Liverpool.

Soccer - Jurgen Klopp Press Conference - Anfield

Brendan was a dead man walking when his two assistants Mike Marsh and Colin Pascoe were dismissed at the start of the season. That was a clear sign he had to get off to a good start. Don’t forget Kenny Dalglish was sacked after getting to two cup finals, winning one of them. That set the bar for Liverpool and Brendan. They almost won the league two seasons back, but it has been a struggle since then.

Jurgen Klopp coming in will breathe new life into Anfield. Klopp has been successful in Germany at Dortmund and has a reputation for finding and developing players. He’ll bring a freshness to Liverpool and and it should be interesting to see how he gets on, as he will be entertaining for sure, on and off the pitch. There is always pressure to deliver results quickly in the Premier League, but I’m sure he’ll be given this season to settle and only be judged after that.

“Rooney place as an all time great is not in doubt”

Without a doubt, Wayne Rooney will go down as one of the greats of English football. From where he has come from, to what he has achieved and where he is now, has to be admired . If, for whatever reason, his career was to end tomorrow, we’d all look back and say he is one of the greatest goalscorers we ever had. He has broken the England goalscoring record and I’m sure it wont be long until he breaks Manchester United’s as well, he’s won numerous trophies and has been a fantastic player over almost 14 seasons at the top level.

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

But age catches up with everyone and Wayne started playing football at the highest level at the age of just 16 and he has been there ever since. He might not be as quick as he was when he was 21 or 22, but he is still a top class player.

I don’t see too many characters in that Manchester United team, so he still has a massive part to play for United and for England. I don’t think he is going to be prolific this season, but that is partly down to the way Manchester United play. He is not an out-and-out centre forward for them anymore. I did not hear many people moaning or criticising him last season when he was asked to play in midfield, on the right side or centre forward. He has had to do that unselfishly over the years, especially last season because of the inadequacies of United’s squad and his versatility.

“Foreign players in premier league holding England back on biggest stage”

I am looking forward to Euro 2016 next year, but I don’t see England as one of the teams who can win the tournament. That said, I do expect us to improve from the last major championship. We’ve looked good in qualifying, but let’s be honest, we should be looking good against the sides we have been playing. In the last two major tournaments, we’ve been hugely disappointing. There are still a lot of people who expect us to go into these big tournaments and win them and perhaps that is the problem. The expectation levels are unrealistic when you evaluate our squad. There are less and less English players now playing in the Premier League, so why should we expect to go to a major tournament and win it? Those English numbers in the Premier League are decreasing each year. We would love that number to be higher but the fact of the matter is, it is cheaper to recruit foreign players than buy English prospects. Last weekend only around 20 per cent of the players featuring in the Premier League fixtures were English. That is not healthy for our game.

Soccer - UEFA Euro 2016 - Qualifying - Group E - England v Estonia - England Training Session and Press Conference - Day One - St George's Park

Roy Hodgson is a very good manager, there is no doubt about that but he can only play with what he has in his squad and he hasn’t got a big pool of players to pick from. I am not sure any other English manager can go in there and do a better job. He has shown great character, and so have the team to come back from a disappointing World Cup campaign, to win all of their European qualifying games so far. However, I have to repeat, we haven’t played anybody of note yet and we can only be judged when we play the big teams next year.

It is not all doom and gloom though. Ross Barkley has started the season well for Everton. John Stones looks a fantastic prospect for England. I like what I see in Harry Kane. If he was in a Spurs team that was creating more chances, then he would score more goals. They are three young players who should have a very good England future and we can look forward to watching them in the coming years.

“Usual suspects will be the ones to beat at the Euro’s”

I am not a big fan of the new format of the European Championship. It’s great that it allows more opportunities for countries like Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to qualify but it does lessen the quality in the finals when there are more sides there. Although it hasn’t helped every team, look at Holland, they are really struggling to qualify. When it comes down to who is going to win the tournament next year, it will be the usual suspects in contention, Germany and Spain; France will be strong in their own country. I know what it is like if you get off to a good start and you have your home fans backing you, as we had that at Euro ’96 and France will be hoping for something similar.

Soccer - UEFA Euro 2016 - Qualifying - Group D - Scotland v Germany - Hampden Park

“There’s a deeper problem holding Sunderland back”

With Sunderland, I think it is obvious promises were made to Dick Advocaat in the summer and those promises never materialised. Ellis Short has been through a number of managers over the past few years now. Martin O’Neill, Roy Keane, Di Canio, Gus Poyet, and now Advocaat, all of these guys can’t be bad, surely? It would be understandable if it did not work out for one or two, but for it not to work out for all of them tells you there is a deeper problem underneath the surface at Sunderland. I am pretty sure that whoever goes in there, the first question will be “who is in charge of bringing players in?” If it is not going to be the manager, then they may not be able to attract the top coaches. I am pretty certain that if Sam Allardyce was to go in there, then there would have to be a radical change behind the scenes.

“Mourihno should survive the dreaded vote of confidence”

Chelsea gave Jose Mourinho the dreaded vote of confidence this week. I think it was the right thing for Chelsea to do actually, I know they have never done it before but it was an important step to come out and back him to send a message to the players and fans. Mourinho has tried everything to motivate the squad. He started by backing them to turn it around, then he called them out publicly; he substituted Terry at half-time, then Matic after just 27 minutes last weekend and yet nothing seems to have worked to this point.

Despite their terrible start, I still think at the end of May it will be the usual teams in the top four. You would have to think with the players in Chelsea’s team, they will get it together eventually and start winning again.

Portugal Soccer Champions League

“Question marks remain over inconsistent gunners”

Not many people would have predicted the way Arsenal blew Manchester United away last weekend. After seeing that performance it does make you wonder, why can’t Arsenal blow Zagreb away? Why can’t they put in a performance like that against Olympiakos? We all know Arsenal on their day can beat anyone. Until they can go out and produce performances like that for 10 months of the season though, then there will always be question marks over them. At some stage of every season, Arsenal seem to struggle with injuries and suspensions and a loss of form and that always seems to cost them. If they can play like that for 98 per cent of the season, there is no doubt they’d be favourites to win the league. When you see them play like that, they are just brilliant to watch but they just don’t seem able to sustain it for the whole season.

“World Class Aguero a joy to watch – almost!”

The stand-out individual performance last weekend has to go to Sergio Aguero. He is genuinely world-class. The way he glides across the playing surface is amazing. His finishing last Saturday was superb. If I wasn’t a Newcastle fan, it would have been a joy to watch. We were unlucky to get a goal disallowed that would have put us 2-0 up in the game, however, it really was alarming the way we imploded once that first goal went in for City.