Shearer: Push Gerrard forward
By Lewis Rutledge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Alan Shearer reckons that Steven Gerrard can fill Wayne Rooney's boots for England.
Alan Shearer reckons that Steven Gerrard is the man who can take up the mantle of England match-winner in Wayne Rooney's probable absence.
Rooney is racing to be fit in time for this summer's World Cup after breaking a metatarsal in the recent game against Chelsea, leaving Sven Goran Eriksson scratching his head and frantically searching for a Plan B.
While Shearer accepts that Rooney's injury is terrible news, he does not believe that there is any need to be overly negative about England's chances
"It is a massive blow to lose Wayne Rooney, there is no doubt about that," the newly retired Newcastle forward told The Sun.
"But if we throw our hands up and say all is now lost we are being disrespectful to the other players.
"I believe we still have enough players to do it and with a little bit of adjustment, have the formation to do it too."
Shearer's solution would be to push Gerrard into a more advanced role, playing off a lone striker.
Shearer believes that the Liverpool skipper would thrive in such a position, and that the whole team would benefit.
"Steven has been playing in that sort of position for Liverpool for some time now, that's why he has 20 goals this season," he explained.
"I am a massive fan of his and have no doubts he can step forward to fill that role left by Rooney.
"Other players have to step forward now Rooney is injured and Gerrard is certainly one who can do that. He could emerge as our main man in the tournament.
"There is no doubt he has the bottle to take up the gauntlet if it is laid down - you only have to look at last season's Champions League final to see that. He is someone who inspires.
"With Gerrard further forward, Lampard can come into his own in the centre.
"Then I would have Michael Carrick as the holding midfielder."
Shearer also praised the appointment of Steve McClaren as England manager, tipping him to be successful when he takes charge at the end of the summer.
"I think Steve will do a good job. He knows the players and the set-up inside-out from being Sven's right-hand man," he commented.
"I was just glad it was an Englishman."