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Saturday, 26 February, 2000, 20:27 GMT
Shearer to quit after Euro 2000

Shearer wants to pace himself through the rest of his Newcastle contract

England football captain Alan Shearer is to retire from international soccer after this summer's European Championships.

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

Alan Shearer
The Newcastle striker said he wanted to bow out after Euro 2000 to give the England manager time to find a replacement.

In a statement, Shearer said: "After a huge amount of thought I have decided to retire from international football.

"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.

Shearer Shearer said he needs to pace himself
"I have spoken to both Bobby Robson and Kevin Keegan and they understand my reasoning."

Shearer made his England senior debut in February 1992 at Wembley, scoring in a 2-0 win over France.

In 1996 he won the Golden Boot as top goalscorer at Euro 96 after netting five times, against Switzerland, Scotland, Holland (two) and Germany.

'I need to pace myself'

Shearer, 29, has been an automatic selection for England manager Kevin Keegan despite criticisms of his goal-scoring form.

It was Keegan as Newcastle manager who paid a record 15m to bring the striker to the club.

Shearer factfile
Clubs: Southampton 88-92, Blackburn 92-96, Newcastle 96-present
England: Debut v France '92, 57 caps to date, 28 goals
Honours: 1995 Premiership winner (Blackburn), Golden Boot Euro 96
Shearer, explaining his decision, said he would have to pace himself if he was to give Newcastle full value over the remaining four years of his contract.

He said: "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."

He added: "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.

Shearer's records
Youngest League hat-trick (for So'ton, 1988)
First to 100 Prem'ship goals
Most expensive British transfer (15m, Newcastle)
Most goals in one game (five v Sheff Utd, 1999)
"However, football is about planning for the future and hopefully my decision today will help England become even more successful in the coming years."

Keegan also revealed he had attempted to persuade Shearer to change his mind but insisted that "everyone should respect his decision - I certainly do". Shearer informed Keegan of his intention to bow out of international football after the European Championships a full 24 hours before England played Argentina at Wembley last week.

"Of course I was very sad and I tried to persuade him to change his mind," Keegan said.

"But I know that what makes Alan Shearer special is that he is his own man.

Keegan England coach Kevin Keegan tried to persuade Shearer to change his mind
"Everyone should respect his decision - I certainly do - and I'm happy for him because it's what he wants.

"His England record speaks for itself. A total of 28 goals in 57 games for his country has been a tremendous achievement and, who knows, the best could be yet to come at Euro 2000."

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