Alan Shearer names his Greatest XI
Newcastle United's record goalscorer, Alan Shearer, has joined thousands of supporters in selecting his greatest ever Magpies team.
The Greatest XI campaign in association with ChronicleLive is part of the club's 125th anniversary celebrations and the final team, as voted for by fans, will be confirmed on Saturday 9th December before the Magpies host Leicester City.
Speaking to the Chronicle's John Gibson, Shearer unsurprisingly began with his forward line and named Jackie Milburn - the man whose club scoring record he surpassed - as the first player on his teamsheet.
“My dad was a Newcastle fanatic and 'Wor Jackie' was his hero," Shearer said.
"So to walk into our house having broken such a great man’s record meant everything to me. I had made my dad proud.
“I invited Jackie’s widow Laura to my testimonial match as a tribute to him. He stands out like a beacon in United’s history.
“Every Geordie knows what Jackie Milburn means to this club and therefore this is a special time to remember him.
“For another Geordie – this one from a council estate in Gosforth – to overtake Wor Jackie’s goalscoring record is unbelievable for me.
“It answers anyone who dares to question why I chose Newcastle ahead of Manchester United. I’ve never regretted that decision for a moment.”
Alongside himself and Jackie Milburn, Shearer has selected his former manager, Kevin Keegan.
Keegan sensationally joined the club in 1982, just a few years after being named European Footballer of the Year.
He led United to promotion in 1984 before retiring, later returning as manager in 1992 to orchestrate the Entertainers era.
In the middle
In a 4-3-3 formation, Shearer opted for a trio of Geordies across the middle of his Greatest XI, with a wealth of talent that any striker would love to play in front of - starting with Paul Gascoigne.
“In their pomp, the two Pauls - Gascoigne and Scholes - were the best passers of the ball I ever had with England,” he added.
“Gazza was the very best of his generation, a mad lad but with a big heart and an even bigger talent.
“I spoke to him recently. He sent me a photo of himself after he had scaled the fence and climbed on top of my statue.
“Typical of him, always the laughter maker.
“Paul has had tough times since finishing playing of course. I worry about him and wish him well.”
In Shearer's magnificent midfield, Gazza is flanked by wing wizard Chris Waddle and former England international Peter Beardsley, who had two hugely successful spells as a player with United.
At the back
Shearer has selected another former teammate, Shay Given, in goal.
Given made 463 appearances for the Magpies between 1997 and 2009 and became the club's most capped player during his time at St. James' Park.
In front of the Irishman, Shearer has opted for Fairs Cup-winning captain Bob Moncur, with gifted centre-half Jonathan Woodgate - who left the club for Real Madrid in 2004 - alongside him.
Fairs Cup full-backs David Craig and Frank Clark also make the cut.
The pair made an astonishing 921 appearances between them in black and white.
Reflecting on those he missed out, including close friend Rob Lee, Shearer commented: “It’s tough on Supermac and Rob Lee but I can only pick 11."
Here is Alan Shearer's Greatest XI in full (4-3-3):
GK: Shay Given
RB: David Craig
CB: Bob Moncur
CB: Jonathan Woodgate
LB: Frank Clark
MID: Chris Waddle
MID: Paul Gascoigne
MID: Peter Beardsley
STR: Kevin Keegan
STR: Alan Shearer
STR: Jackie Milburn.
"Every Geordie knows what Jackie Milburn means to this club and therefore this is a special time to remember him."