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Football: Shearer rejects England offer.

Byline: By Jamie Gardner

England manager Steve McClaren last night suffered the first setback of his reign as it was revealed that Alan Shearer has turned down the chance to be part of the national team's coaching staff.

Former Newcastle United and England striker Shearer, aged 35, was approached by McClaren just prior to the World Cup but has decided to continue his work as a television pundit for the BBC, having verbally agreed a contract extension with them before his discussions with McClaren.

Shearer, who at times was a vociferous critic of the tactics of outgoing manager Sven-GUran Eriksson during the World Cup, will continue to impart his wisdom from the studio rather than the touchline and the training ground.

Shearer said: "I was flattered when Steve telephoned me just before the World Cup and explained the role he visualised for me, working alongside himself and Terry Venables.

"I met him upon my return from Germany and was impressed with his plans and his vision for the future. However, I had already told the BBC that I would extend my contract with them and I did not want to break my word."

Though it has yet to be officially confirmed, Shearer's statement also contained the strongest suggestion yet that former England boss Terry Venables will be a prominent part of McClaren's backroom staff.

Shearer, who retired from the game at the end of last season, said: "I am sure that Steve will do a great job for England - his choice of Terry as his number two is a clever appointment and I am certain that they will prove to be an excellent management team."

Elaborating on his decision to turn down McClaren's offer, Shearer added: "I also want some time away from the pressures of football - I am currently on my longest ever family holiday and enjoying every minute of it.

"I spoke at length today with Steve and explained my situation and said if I could ever assist in any way he only has to ask. We have arranged to meet up for a game of golf when I get back."

McClaren added: "I fully understand the reasons behind Alan's decision. As you would expect from Alan he has chosen to honour a contract to which he had verbally committed - a true mark of the man."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 31, 2006
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