Alan Shearer: 'Guardiola’s style here to stay'

Alan Shearer, famous goalscorer for Newcastle United and England, believes Pep Guardiola’s attacking approach is here to stay.

Alan Shearer feels that the Guardiola impact will continue even after he moves on to another country.   -  AFP

Newcastle United and England legend Alan Shearer believes Pep Guardiola’s attacking approach is here to stay. The Spanish coach set off a football revolution in the Premier League since taking charge of Manchester City.

Shearer believes that league rivals have been forced to change tactics and clubs everywhere have embraced his style. He was speaking on the sidelines of PL-ISL Next Generation Mumbai Cup, which features thee English clubs (Southampton, Manchester United, Chelsea), two Indian Super League teams (Bengaluru FC, FC Goa) and Mumbai-based Reliance Foundation Young Champs.

Excerpts:

Q. Manchester City under Pep Guardiola has made the Premier League into a football spectacle, with high-intensity passing and delightful goals. As a goal-scorer yourself, your thoughts?

A. Pep came in and did a magnificent job, he changed the way a lot of teams play football. Now we see teams playing from the back, the goalkeeper at City is as good as any forward on the pitch. Manchester City were tremendous last season — the points they had on the board and the number of goals scored.

He may take up another challenge in another league in future. Will the Premier League teams continue to play this way after Guardiola has moved on?

I think so. When you look (at English football), a lot of clubs want to play that way by building (play) from the goalkeeper. Teams are not kicking long like they did many years ago. I am referring to clubs not just in the Premier League, clubs outside are following this way.

Liverpool FC has done well this season, in the league and elsewhere. Can they be called the best Premier League team ever?

No, if they can win like Manchester United did, like Manchester City have. Liverpool played some phenomenal football this season, but I don’t think you can rate them as the best team ever. If they  win two, three, four league titles, then you can have that (best ever league side) description.

Heading for young players below 12 years is supposed to be dangerous, as per medical studies recently. How do you teach kids to stop heading?

We spoke about the way Manchester City are playing. We want the kids to pass, pass, pass. Something had to be done because they just could not sit back and do nothing. So, this (heading ban for kids) is a start of a long process. Kids rarely head the ball anyway so there is plenty of time to practise when you are older.

You have coached Newcastle United at one time. What are the challenges club coaches face? Is it different when a manager was a former player?

I can only speak for myself. You have to make so many decisions, the more right ones you make the more chances of success. You are only as good as your players. Pressure is huge, completing is different from when you are a player. You take it (pressure) home a lot as manager than when you are playing. A former player might get an extra three-four games (to prove managerial ability). It all boils down to results.

The Next Generation Mumbai Cup is happening, with three England clubs facing three Indian sides here. Your thoughts on the initiative?

The plan is to try and give the kids as much experience for the three club teams to come here and sample India, a different culture, a different weather. The coaches here can interact with the England club coaches so it will be beneficial for both sides. I did not have anything like that as a kid. I would have loved to come to a country like this, be away from home and learn how other people live, learn on and off the pitch.

England won the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 here. Performers from that squad are finding that breaking into the first team at their club is tougher than expected, at the Premier League level.

The clubs desperately trying to get the right results. The pressure is huge on managers and on players, they want to stay in the Premier League and be successful. I always believed that if you are good enough, you will find a way through to make it to the first team.

Jadon Sancho, from that England U-17 World Cup team, took a different path to first-team football by signing for Borussia Dortmund. Do you think that is way for other young players struggling to get into club main team?

It is an option, because Sancho chose to do it and is very successful at Borussia Dortmund. I feel in the coming years others will look to do that. We all want to play, be regulars and play every single week.

Gareth Bale made news in England leaving Manchester United for Real Madrid. Now he is in news again with Real manager Zinedine Zidane trying to offload him, but not able to since Bale scores crucial goals...

He has had an unbelievable career at Real Madrid. I was surprised that there was talk of him leaving. Bale has suffered a couple of injuries, but if you see what he has achieved there and important goals scored, I am surprised that they (Real Madrid) want to let him go.

Will he open the doors for top England players to compete in the La Liga?

I would not be surprised if that happened, we now have talent in the England team and the big clubs will surely come calling. A lot of our big players are with huge clubs in England, who pay huge money and are hugely successful. Premier League teams did well in the UEFA Champions League last year and players will go where they have a chance to win trophies and be successful.

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