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Saturday, 20 May, 2000, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
Shearer ready for spot-kick pressure
Alan Shearer
Shearer shows off his penalty-taking prowess
Alan Shearer has insisted he is ready to accept the challenge of taking a crucial penalty in Euro 2000.

Penalties have long been the cause of England's downfall in major championships, with the team shown the exit door at Italia 90, Euro 96 and France 98 following shoot-outs.

Skipper Shearer is England's number one penalty taker and scored from the spot in both normal time and the shoot-out against Argentina at the last World Cup.


Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate: Misery of major miss
But the 29-year-old admits the pressure of a shoot-out at a major championships is immense and he does not know how he would react if he did miss.

"There are not many times when I get nervous, but I do a little bit with penalties," he said.

"I don't fear taking them - it's a great opportunity for a forward to score a goal.

Pressure

"But there's a lot of pressure standing there with thousands of people watching you in the stadium and at home on television.

"It's that stop-start situation where all eyes are on you.

"But you can't afford to think like that. You've got to be focused and block that out of your mind and try to put it in.



There are not many times when I get nervous, but I do a little bit with penalties

Alan Shearer
"It's far too much pressure for the individual who misses to face, because someone has to. I would imagine it takes a long, long time to get over it.

"I hope I never have to face that feeling of missing and sending my country or team out of a competition."

Former Newcastle team-mates Stuart Pearce and David Batty have both suffered the misery of missing from the spot for England, and Shearer saw at first hand how they coped with their agony.

"David was disappointed, but he got over it," he said. "Obviously you do, but it takes time.



"When he left me in the centre circle, he was smashing it straight down the middle. For some unknown reason, he changed his mind and put it to the keeper's right.

"If he had put it down the middle, who knows? We might have won the World Cup."

Shearer said Pearce's emotional reaction to his successful spot-kickagainst Spain at Euro 96 showed the massive pressure that penalty takers are under.

"You could see the elation on his face when it went into the back of the net - that's how much pressure players are under."

Philosophy

Shearer regularly practises penalties in training, but says this can only partially prepare a player for a big match shoot-out.

"I always practise penalties, but what people don't understand is that you can never recreate that pressure situation that you're under.

"You can take 100 penalties in training, but when you go out on that pitch in front of all those people and the television cameras, it's completely different.

Shearer's philosophy is to pick his spot and then hit the ball with pace.

"First and foremost, you've got to make the keeper work and make sure you hit the target, then it's got a chance of going in.

"The best penalty taker I've seen is Matt Le Tissier at Southampton. I think he's got a record of missing one in 40-odd.

"He actually waits for the keeper to move, then he puts the ball wherever the keeper is not going to go."

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See also:

14 May 00 | England
Keegan on the spot
01 Jul 98 | Football
England pay penalty again
03 Jul 98 | Football
Penalty agony for Italians
16 Dec 99 | Football
Deja-vu for Southgate
17 May 00 | Football
Penalty heartbreak for Arsenal
13 May 00 | Squad
Alan Shearer
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