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ENGLAND skipper Alan Shearer has announced his decision to quit international football after Euro 2000.

The Newcastle skipper`s shock announcement came after his side`s 2-0 victory at Sheffield Wednesday, with him netting the second goal.

Shearer said: "I would like to play if selected in Euro 2000 and then bow out so that the manager has time to plan effectively for the 2002 World Cup.

"I have spoken to both Bobby Robson and Kevin Keegan and they understand my reasons.

"I want everyone to understand that I am not walking away from a challenge - I am hugely patriotic and my time as England captain has made me incredibly proud.

"However, I realise that if I want to give Newcastle value for money in the remaining four years of my contract with them, I will need to pace myself a bit more than I am able to do at the moment.

"I am not saying that I would never play for England again - if there was an injury crisis or real need for me to help out, I would always be honoured to answer the call.

"However, football is about planning for the future and hopefully my decision today will help England become even more successful in the coming years."

Shearer, who scored on his England debut back in 1992 against France, was an instrumental figure under Terry Venables in Euro 96.

It seems ironic that Shearer has announced his decision now when he is in a rich vein of form with Newcastle.

Jonny Wootton