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Page last updated at 06:52 GMT, Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Andy Carroll wins England backing from Alan Shearer

International friendly: England v France
Venue: Wembley Stadium Date: Wednesday, 17 November Kick-off: 2000 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live; Live text commentary on BBC Sport website & mobiles; Also live on ITV1

Sebastien Squillaci and Andy Carroll

Alan Shearer has called for England boss Fabio Capello to hand Newcastle striker Andy Carroll his international debut against France on Wednesday.

"Who is playing better than him?" asked Newcastle legend Shearer. "Nobody. Who is scoring more goals than him? Nobody.

"He's not the finished article, but get him in there and let's have a look at him," Shearer told BBC Radio 5 live.

But 21-year-old Carroll's hopes of playing in the friendly are in the balance because of a groin injury.

He was named in Capello's squad on Saturday after being omitted from the under-21s for Tuesday's friendly in Germany but was injured in the weekend's 0-0 draw with Fulham.

Newcastle manager Chris Hughton and Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger have backed Carroll's call-up, although former Magpies boss Glenn Roeder has urged Capello to think twice before awarding the frontman his debut because of his off-field problems.

Carroll was ordered to live with Newcastle captain Kevin Nolan as part of his bail conditions after an alleged assault charge.

The striker also pleaded guilty to a separate assault charge after an incident at a Newcastle nightclub and was fined £1,000.

Despite Roeder's concerns, Shearer says Carroll deserves his chance.

"You have to judge these guys on what they do on the football pitch," said BBC Match of the Day pundit. "They are young guys with a lot of money and he is a young single guy.

"You are going to have scrapes. We all make mistakes, but you have to learn from those mistakes. If he can do that then of course he should be included in the England squad."

With fellow strikers Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe, Darren Bent and Bobby Zamora all injured, Shearer suggested the 6ft 3in Carroll could prove a real handful for opposition international defences.

606: DEBATE

"He is something very different - he is big and strong and will hold the ball up," added Shearer, who managed Carroll when he was Newcastle manager in 2009.

Indeed it was Carroll who earned the former Newcastle boss his first point when he came off the bench to head a late equaliser against Stoke in April last year.

"If you want to have a plan B and you want to go long, then there is nobody better than him," Shearer continued. "There are not many players who can beat him in the air.

"But you don't have to kick and rush with him. He has got a decent touch. He will run into the corners and he will score goals."

Carroll announced himself in the Premier League stage this season with a hat-trick in the 6-0 win over Aston Villa in August and he has scored seven goals in 13 league outings.

"The guy in form is Carroll," Shearer stated. "He has come on in leaps and bounds over the last 18 months. I always knew he had talent, but this has come a bit quicker than I thought it would."

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see also
Bothroyd eager to make his mark
15 Nov 10 |  Football
Newcastle 0-0 Fulham
13 Nov 10 |  Premier League
Hughton talks up Carroll claims
13 Nov 10 |  Premier League
Roeder warns Capello over Carroll
09 Nov 10 |  Newcastle
Wenger backs Carroll for England
08 Nov 10 |  Newcastle
Carroll signs new Newcastle deal
08 Oct 10 |  Newcastle
Stoke 1-1 Newcastle
11 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Trio pull out of England friendly
14 Nov 10 |  Football


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