Shearer: ‘I don’t see anyone catching Chelsea’

Fielding a variety of questions from Sportstar, the 46-year-old former Southampton, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle and England player felt that Chelsea was well on its way to win its second EPL title in three seasons.

Alan Shearer is in Mumbai to take part in 'The Football Movement', a football and business conference between stakeholders in India and the United Kingdom. (File photo)   -  Getty Images

 

English football great Alan Shearer, who is in the city for the Football Movement, expressed a desire to see England win the FIFA World Cup in his lifetime. Shearer played 63 matches for England and scored 30 goals and is sixth behind Wayne Rooney (60), Bobby Charlton (49), Gary Linekar (48), Jimmy Greaves (44) and Michael Owen (40). Shearer though is the highest goal scorer in the EPL history with 260 goals.

Fielding a variety of questions from Sportstar, the 46-year-old former Southampton, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle and England player felt that Chelsea was well on its way to win its second EPL title in three seasons.

Excerpts:

What brings you to India ?

The English Premier League (EPL). To help try and link the Indian Super League (ISL) for the Football Movement Conference and work with Star Sports for one of the matches. I have never been here before and I am excited. It should be a good couple of days. I have not seen a great deal of the ISL , but heard a lot about it. I am here to share the experiences of our league which started way back in 1992 and I was part of it from the first day. From then to now, we have had some great times.

Some say the ISL is still a promotional event, considering it is played for just months in a year..

I realise it’s No. 2 to cricket at the moment. It would always be that way. But that doesn’t mean that football cannot grow, get bigger and become more exciting. The ISL can grow with bigger names and get more people interested in it. Whether football can challenge cricket is a different matter.

It’s been 50 years since England won the World Cup. When is the football world likely to see the Wembley and Bobby Moore moment of 1966 again? England has just won the 1996 European Championship after the 1966 World Cup final...

I hope it happens in my lifetime. I want to be around when England wins the next World Cup Trophy. If I am honest, I don’t see it happening in the near future. The next World Championship is going to be in Russia in 2018. I don’t see it happening there because I don’t think we have the players to win it as yet.

We have had some near misses…1986 was very close. We lost to Argentina in the quarterfinal (Maradona’s Hand of God goal), then we were in the semifinals in 1990 where we were beaten on penalties by Germany. Otherwise, there has not been much to shout about as an England fan. We just have not been good enough. We cannot beat about the bush and say we have been unlucky all these years. We might have been unlucky in one or two tournaments, but for the vast majority of times we have not been good enough.

Is it because England has not had an Alf Ramsey or Bobby Robson or because of lack of quality players ?

I think it’s the players. I was fortunate to have Bobby Robson at Newcastle for a number of years. He was an excellent coach. His knowledge of football was superb. He got heavily criticized when he was the England manager. We had Terry Venables (1994-1996); Terry was probably the best England manager I had. So we have had very good managers. Glenn Hoddle (1996-1999) I thought was excellent. As I said, we cannot use excuses. The simple fact of the matter is that in a lot of tournaments we have not come up to standards to be good enough.

Your views on the ongoing season of EPL...

I don’t see anyone catching Chelsea. It has been by far the most consistent team. The best team. It has been very solid defensively. It has [Eden] Hazard and [Diego] Costa...Pedro has been much better this season. Willian has been good when given the opportunities.

EPL is no longer about Manchester United alone. Six clubs have won the title already..

That’s the difference from what it was ten years ago. Only two or three clubs could have won the Premier League. Now probably six teams (Manchester United, Chelsea FC, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspurs) can, which is great for the competition, great for attracting bigger and better players to the league and also to attract big managers. The competition is a big plus for the league.

Your comment on FIFA’s decision to go for 48 teams for the World Cup from 2026 ? FIFA expects a revenue of $1 billion plus and more profit...

It’s all for finance. It’s for more money. I don’t think it will improve the standard of many teams that would struggle any way. I don’t agree with 16 more teams in the World Cup finals. Teams should earn the right to be there at the finals and they are the best teams there.

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