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FIFA U-17 World Cup: It’s About Showing the World; India Can Put On a Good Show, Says Shearer

The English Premier League is among one of the most watched leagues in world football, and is definitely the more popular one in India. Former England captain Alan Shearer, who was in India to promote the Premier League, believes the country must use the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup as means to show the world that they can indeed put on a good show.

Abhimanyu Sen | News18 Sports

Updated:October 18, 2017, 2:09 PM IST
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FIFA U-17 World Cup: It’s About Showing the World; India Can Put On a Good Show, Says Shearer
Alan Shearer during his recent visit to India (Getty Images)
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New Delhi: The English Premier League is among one of the most watched leagues in world football, and is definitely the more popular one in India. Former England captain Alan Shearer, who was in India to promote the Premier League, believes the country must use the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup as means to show the world that they can indeed put on a good show.

“Of course nobody would expect India to win the World Cup, but what counts is the interest generated from a tournament like this. If there is interest, and there are whole lot of very very passionate football fans here, then the tide will only swing in favour,” Shearer told News18Sports over the telephone from Bangalore on the side lines of the Premier League FANPARK event.

Shearer, like most successful professional footballers took to the sport at a very early age. He left home to join Southampton as an apprentice at the age of 15.

“I began playing from the time I learnt how to walk. It is very important to begin early. The sooner the talent is spotted and harnessed the better it is for the education and the growth of the player,” Shearer pointed out.

Interestingly, the likes of Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo to name a few, all began playing football well before the age of 10 before moving into more systematic academies.

Sergio Aguero began playing locally near his house around the age of 6, while Messi joined the Newell’s Old Boys at the same age before moving out to Barcelona as soon as his teenage days began. Neymar was offered his first contract with Santos FC at the age of 11 for the youth academy, and Cristiano Ronaldo had begun playing amateur club level football by the time he was 8.

The former England captain and striker also pointed out that he was rather impressed by the English national teams, especially the juniors in the set up. Earlier in the summer, the U-20 team won the Three Lions their second ever World Cup title after beating Venezuela in the final.

“The U-20 team did a fantastic job earlier in the summer, and I hope the U-17 team who are in the midst of a World Cup campaign can do something similar.”

The forward, well remembered for his clinical finishing though is not particularly impressed by the England senior men’s team, who have only recently secured qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Shearer, who scored 260 goals in the Premier League, holds the record for being the highest goal scorer in the history of the competition and believes that this season is eventually going to boil down to a battle between the two Manchester clubs.

The former Newcastle man, who has a statue of his own at St James’ Park, is also impressed by the current manager Rafa Benitez.

“Benitez has got Newcastle working well at the moment, he ensures the team is tight and organised. A mid-table finish this season would be fantastic for the club,” he says.

One of Tyneside’s most loved and prolific footballers, Shearer believes Liverpool have to work hard and start scoring a few goals if they want to make something of their season. “In the last 18 odd months nothing has changed for them, they might be tight at the back mostly, but they hardly score any goals,” he quipped.

Staying on the topic of goals and his tally in the Premier League, Shearer said the key to for anyone who tried to overtake his record would be to stay injury free apart.

“Harry Kane has been scoring a lot of goals, but there a lot of ‘ifs’ involved, if he stays away from a serious injury all his career and if Tottenham can hold onto him.”

The iconic Magpie whose visit to India was a brief one, signed off by saying, “I hope nobody overtakes my record. I love being at the top of the tree.”

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| Edited by: Arnab Sen
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