Alan Shearer has a lovely life, he says, but admits there is something "chewing at him inside" now that the buzz of being the Premier League's record goalscorer has gone.
The Match of the Day pundit's soapbox is not enough. Shearer wants a return to the dugout and, as England travel to Montenegro on Friday hoping to confirm qualification for Euro 2012, his dream is to one day follow Fabio Capello in what the 41-year-old describes as the top job in management.
Asked if he would like to be England manager, Shearer says: "Yeah. But now would be tough. There are far more experienced candidates than me at this moment in time. I know I would have to go in and get somewhere [as a club manager] before I got that job and rightly so because of the candidates. They're speaking about Harry [Redknapp] and Roy [Hodgson] and when you see what those guys have done, and the experience they have, to put me in the bracket with those guys is not right.
"It's the top job for a manager no doubt about it. It's not impossible, no. If you were to ask an experienced Englishman, the guys that I've mentioned, I'm sure those guys would snap your hands off."
Capello leaves the post as soon as England's interest in Euro 2012 ends – they need a point in Podgorica to book their passage to Poland and Ukraine next summer. Of the possible choice between Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, and West Bromwich Albion's Hodgson, Shearer says: "Harry would be great because of his man-management. Man-management is hugely important at football clubs, but with England you're getting the players for a week and then five weeks at a major tournament. Harry would be good at that."
Shearer, of course, has already left Match of the Day once for a stab at management: the eight games in charge of his beloved Newcastle United in the spring of 2009 that ended in the despair of relegation to the Championship.
Despite agreeing terms with Mike Ashley on taking charge of Newcastle's promotion push the following season neither he nor his agent ever heard from the owner again. This has not dissuaded Shearer. The man who scored 283 goals for Southampton, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle in 559 appearances, plus 30 for England from his 63 caps, is clear why he wants to be in charge. "I've got a great life that I really enjoy. But there is something chewing at me inside: that adrenaline rush from football, I miss that," he says. "I was very close to doing it. I thought I had one but didn't get it. I was practically offered another [Cardiff City, in the summer] but it wasn't to be."
Asked if management would be for the long term, Shearer says: "I'd like to do it for a while. It depends what kind of start you get."
Still without his Uefa Pro licence badge, which could be an issue if a Premier League club came calling, Shearer says he is prepared to manage outside the top division: "Who am I to say that I would not go down into the lower leagues? It would be disrespectful. I am not looking for that but I have got to have half a chance. If it goes wrong, it has to be my fault. There is not a perfect job."
Andy Carroll's start to his Liverpool career following his record £35m move from Newcastle in January has also been far from flawless. Shearer, a Geordie who was once the most expensive British footballer when he moved to the Tyneside club in 1996 for £15m, believes that Carroll, whom he managed at Newcastle, can still join Wayne Rooney at the heart of the England attack.
While Carroll opened his league account for this season in Liverpool's 2-0 win at Everton on Saturday, Shearer offers caution. Carroll has so far made only 10 league starts for Liverpool since he was signed by Kenny Dalglish, who was twice Shearer's manager, at Blackburn and at Newcastle.
The 6ft 3in striker has been criticised by, among others, Capello, for his lifestyle and Shearer says of the Gateshead-born 22-year-old: "Andy's been brought up in an area where people enjoy their life. That's all he's known. He's still relatively young experience-wise, he still is young life-wise as well. When I moved to Blackburn [in 1992, also when 22], I had great guidance and that was Kenny. I'm pretty sure Kenny will protect him and look after him."
Shearer believes that Carroll's formidable on-field presence shields an introverted character. "Andy is quite shy, unless you get to know him," he says. "Again, he's not really been in an environment where he has to mix with people, [when] he has to face the press guys, whether he has a game or a bad game.
"He's still relatively inexperienced. To have that £35m [price tag] is a lot to deal with. The problem nowadays is that it's difficult trying to put it out because of the vast sums of money paid, but people shouldn't forget that a lot of these guys, myself included, were brought up on council estates. At 16, 17, 18, you are thrust into the spotlight, you're on £1m-£2m a year, expected to handle all the stuff thrown at you. Sometimes they haven't had great educations. I'm not saying that about Andy, [I'm] saying it in a general way. It's sometimes difficult to handle."
Shearer says Carroll has swapped the Tyneside village for the one on the Mersey. "They are both very similar," Shearer says. "If he goes out it's a goldfish bowl. I lived in Southport and Formby when I played for Blackburn and I know Liverpool [people] pretty well. They are very much like the Geordie people. They know their stuff and they do like to enjoy themselves."
"One of the advantages I had was that [at the start of his career] I left the goldfish bowl to go to Southampton, a much quieter place, where people didn't really care who you were when you went out at night. Don't get me wrong. Please don't write: 'Alan warns Andy.' It's not a warning. But he was one of the guys at Newcastle, he's from the area. You can't exactly hide when you are 6ft 6in [sic]."Shearer has no doubt that Carroll has the talent to become the No9 to Rooney's No10. "I do see him as an England centre-forward. Rooney will always be No1. Andy can be No9 and he will be. Once he settles down and scores goals, you'll see the fearsome centre-forward, you'll see the reason why Kenny paid £35m for him."
Michael Owen, a predecessor of Carroll's in an England striker's shirt, is no longer in the international shake-up. At only 31 Owen has decided he would rather accept limited game-time at Manchester United than regular football elsewhere.
Shearer adds: "He's happy with that. That's his decision. Other players might have been different. I wouldn't have been happy sat on the bench. I would want to play. But that's him."
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
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