ALAN Shearer’s approach as an England fan to this summer’s European Championships was one of self-preservation.
The former captain didn’t expect the national team to do particularly well so he wasn’t left deflated and depressed after yet another quarter-final exit.
It’s a philosophy most fans would be wise to follow; don’t ever think your team will do anything good and, when they don’t, you don’t feel bad.
And on the odd occasion when results go fantastically well, then it’s even nicer given you had written off any real hope of things working out. Shearer is also a Newcastle United supporter, in case you hadn’t noticed, and he is looking ahead to the next Premier League season with the same trepidation that he did before a ball was kicked in Poland and Ukraine.
Alan Pardew believes the Toon Army aren’t getting carried away by what happened last season and that they completely understand just how difficult it will be to emulate that fifth position, while coping with the demands of Europe and two domestic cups with a squad much smaller than most top-ten clubs.
Shearer isn’t so sure. He lived and breathed Newcastle during his days as the club’s talismanic striker and still does given that he lives in the area and has never stopped being a supporter.
And he fears the fans may want too much from a team that, despite their undoubted talent, have some massive challenges ahead of them.
Shearer said: “There will be a big expectation with Newcastle. That’s the way it has always worked up here.
“For me, it will all depend on what sums of money the club spend. Or whether they keep hold of some of their top players. So, at the minute, it’s too early to predict what is going to happen at Newcastle.
“I certainly hope they kick on because they had a great season last time. And, of course, they might be playing 60 games in a season as well. I can’t remember if I ever did that; it was so long ago. But that is going to be an awful lot to cope with. It’s going to be tough for them to play on Thursday nights, if they get into the Europa League (group stage), and then on a Sunday. So I’m sure a pretty big squad is needed.”
Shearer has just about shaken off his Euro 2012 hangover. He may not have believed England were going to do anything out of the ordinary, but he still didn’t enjoy them being so outplayed by Italy in their quarter-final defeat when they exited, naturally, on penalties. However, Shearer, who scored 30 goals in an England shirt from 63 appearances for his country, was pleased with how the public’s perception of manager Roy Hodgson changed as the tournament progressed.
He said: “England were disappointing, but we get used to that, don’t we. Were there any positives? Well, I said during the tournament that we were okay. I think that’s what people expected.
“But we were really disappointing against Italy. I know it went to penalties, but if the Italians had their shooting boots on that night then it could have been three or four.
“We are where we are. England are, what, fifth, sixth, seventh or even eighth in the world. We have a bit of work to do. Roy should be given time and a proper chance. Hopefully, we can look forward with confidence in two years’ time for the World Cup in Brazil.
“Roy did come out the tournament with credit and I was pleased about that because he’s a really nice guy. We worked with him at the last World Cup with the BBC and his knowledge of players and tactical awareness was outstanding.
“I am sure he will use all that experience in the next few years.
“Football-wise, I thought it was a really good tournament. There were plenty of goals and some really good entertainment. The refereeing standards were great as well and I must say that the stadiums were magnificent.
“The travelling was hard work, but other than that I thought it wad a good tournament.”
Shearer was speaking before Tuesday’s second annual Have a Heart Charity Golf Challenge at Close House Hotel in Northumberland.
Thousands of pounds were raised for the children’s heart unit at Freeman Hospital.
There were no shocks at the golf – it rained all day and the best player was Lee Westwood – and Shearer doesn’t believe next season’s Premier League is going to provide many shocks in terms of who will challenge for the title.
Shearer said: “Even now I still look back to the end of last season, which was incredible, when Manchester City won it with the last kick of the ball.
“And they will be the team to beat this time. I’m sure they will spend pretty big in the next month or so. It’s going to be a fascinating year. Manchester United will be desperate to get back on track, Liverpool are going to be keen to be back up there again and then there is Tottenham with their new manager, Andre Villas-Boas, while Arsenal are just as desperate to win a trophy.
“It’s going to be an interesting month as we see which clubs bring in players.”