Fair play to the lad as he deserves his chance. I just hope he doesn’t pick up an injury that will keep him out of action for his club!
Anyway, I digress. It’s been a pretty meteoric rise to the top for the Gateshead lad. Just twenty months ago he was a was a benchwarmer, a young whipper-snapper with a bad reputation. At 21-years-old, he still is a whipper-snapper, and he remains as controversial now as he was back then, but his stock on the football field has risen rapidly, to the point where he is about to become the next Newcastle player to lead the line for England.
Newcastle have been blessed with English goal-scorers, certainly in recent years anyway, and it’s those years that I am going to cover in this article. I will, of course, be looking for your input on this, which will hopefully lead to a good healthy debate about England forwards that Newcastle have had on their books in years gone by. So, where do we start?
Michael Owen – Owen is not the most popular player round these parts, but he did play for England whilst he was with us. Admittedly, most of his international prowess was displayed before he moved to Tyneside, but he was still an important player for England at points during his time with us.
It was England who arguably ruined Owen, in my eyes anyway, but they are only partly to blame. There was always a feeling that Owen cared more about getting fit for England than he did about playing for Newcastle, which is perhaps best highlighted by when he broke his metatarsal back in late 2005. It was a blow as he was scoring goals for us at the time.
He returned to action at the end of April 2006 where he featured for 28 minutes against Birmingham City. He ruled himself out of the final game of the season, with some sceptics suggesting that he was looking after himself for the forthcoming World Cup. It was in that World Cup that Owen sustained an injury that, in my view, finished him as an international player when damaged his anterior cruciate ligament – an injury that kept him out for nealy a full year. He was never the same after that. And people wonder why I am being protective of Carroll…..
Alan Shearer – Captain fantastic, for both club and country. Shearer made his debut, like Carroll will do, against France back in 1992, and he scored on his debut. Shearer went on to star in Euro ’96, and signed for his beloved Newcastle United soon after in a world record £15 million transfer.
Shearer only played in one World Cup for England, and that was back in 1998 whilst he was playing for Newcastle. He was England captain back then having been given the armband by Glenn Hoddle. He went on to amass 63 caps for England, scoring 30 goals along the way before retiring from international football after Euro 2000 in order to concentrate on his club career with his hometown club.
Les Ferdinand – Les was a fantastic player in his day, and his power and aerial ability is strikingly similar to what Andy Carroll has in his locker. Despite that though, he never really got much of a look in at international level, but the with an on-song Shearer and Sheringham ahead of him I can perhaps understand why.
Ferdinand earned 17 caps for England, scoring 3 goals, and was involved in both the Euro ’96 and the World Cup in 1998 England squads. Unfortunately he didn’t feature in either tournament, despite a succesful season with Newcastle in the run up to the 1996 tournament.
Peter Beardsley – The magician. Pedro started off his international career whilst he was in his first spell at Newcastle. He was predominantly a provider of goals, but played up top in and around the striker, which is why I am classing him as one.
Beardsley made his debut against Egypt way back in 1986, and he went on to feature in the World Cup in Mexico in that year. Four years later and Beardsley was in World Cup action again and was part of the Bobby Robson side that lost on penalties in the semi-final to West Germany.
Pedro moved back to Newcastle in 1993 and got recalled to the national side in early 1994 after a three-year absence. He ended his international career whilst still at Newcastle back in 1996 after making 59 appearances for England, scoring just the nine goals, but creating many more along the way.
These are just a few players that have played up front for England in my time, and Andy Carroll is set to be the next. I’m sure there are others that you have seen in your lifetime that perhaps others haven’t. Players like Supermac and the like immediately spring to mind.
Share your memories.