Is there a striker in the history of the game more underrated and disrespected than Alan Shearer? Probably not.
Now a BBC pundit, Shearer is the all-time top goalscorer for his boyhood club Newcastle United and was the main man as Blackburn won the Premier League title back in 1995. He also hit 30 goals for England in 63 appearances, so how is he left out of the conversations about the best strikers of his generation?
There’s a conversation that needs to be had about how whenever there are conversations about the best strikers of the 90’s, he is conveniently left out for bigger superstars.
If you look at his record from the 1990/91 season up to the end of 1999/00, Shearer scored a remarkable 251 goals at club level. Compare that to the other greats of the 90’s and he’s right up there with them. The legendary R9 scored 197 (starting from 1993), Gabriel Batistuta scored 226 and Roberto Baggio scored 174.
His numbers were ridiculous but he was also doing it in an era where defending was tougher and the game was far more physical.
In fact, during that period Shearer only failed to hit 20+ goals in all competitions twice – once in the 1990/91 season in what was only his second full season in first-team football and then again in the 1997/98 season when he suffered a serious ankle ligament injury and missed a huge chunk of the season.
He scored all types of goals whether it be tap ins, penalties, towering headers, left foot, right foot, edge of the box piledrivers or even free-kicks – he was the total package.
His strength meant he was capable of going into physical battles with the best defenders of his era and he maintained his fantastic numbers even as Newcastle fell away as title challengers and started challenging for top four as he got older.
He enjoyed scoring against the better teams too, so he couldn’t be described as a flat-track bully either. He scored 20 times against Leeds, 18 times against Everton, 17 times against Tottenham, 11 times against Chelsea and ten times against Manchester United throughout his career.
Not to mention the fact that he won three golden boots in the Premier League, came third place in the 1996 Ballon d’Or awards behind Matthias Sammer and Ronaldo. He’s also the all-time top goalscorer in the Premier League with 260 goals, one of only two players to pass the 200 mark along with Wayne Rooney.
Whenever there is a conversation about the greatest Premier League side ever he is often left out, which is just mental.
Yes, there have been other attacking players that have lit up the league in their careers and that were arguably better than him individually. But that makes his achievements even greater.
The reason he’s often overlooked is probably the fact that he stayed at Newcastle during the peak of his powers, despite interest from Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United on several occasions. It makes you wonder that if he accomplished all he did at the teams he did, what more could he have done in a team that completely dominated the domestic game for the best part of two decades.
There is a reason that Newcastle have only managed to finish in the top half of the Premier League three times since his retirement in 2006, and have been relegated twice. They’ve never replaced his goals – simply because it’s so difficult to replace that volume.
In this day and age there are goal scorers all over Europe but I have no doubt in my mind that they’d have an extra name alongside them competing – and that man is Alan Shearer. The most underrated Premier League player ever.