Alan Shearer explains what has liberated him as a pundit

Match of the Day pundit and ex-Newcastle and England captain speaks to Off The Ball

Alan Shearer, England, Newcastle, statue, interview

Alan Shearer poses for a photograph next to the newly unveiled statue of himself outside St James' Park, Newcastle.Picture by Owen Humphreys PA Wire/PA Images

Former England and Newcastle captain Alan Shearer says a "conscious decision" to move on from the idea of football management helped him develop as a pundit.

The Premier League's all time record goalscorer is one of the lead pundits on Match of the Day and took time to chat to Newstalk about his career as a player and beyond. 

"When I first went into it in 2006, I always felt that I was going to go back into management so I was reluctant to criticise as much as I probably should've," he told Off The Ball.

"But once I made a conscious decision four or five years ago, I probably wasn't going to go back into the game. Then I knuckled down and I got my head stuck into punditry.

"I spoke to different people, I sat and learned, took my time in speaking to people and then slowly but surely tell it as it is now. And that never affected me when I was a player. If someone was critical of me, and they were correct and it was constructive then I accepted it, took it on the chin and go 'OK, I'll prove you wrong in the next game.'"   

Newcastle United's Alan Shearer during the Steve Harper Testimonial at St James' Park, Newcastle. 
Picture by Richard Sellers PA Archive/PA Images

He also added that as the years have passed, most players he would have known during his own career have retired which makes it less of an issue to criticise mistakes.

While a couple of opportunities came up in management after his brief caretaker role at Newcastle in 2009, Shearer says "the longer you're out of the game, the more difficult it is to get back in" and is enjoying punditry and life outside of football. 

He also spoke of his pride at being England captain in the late 1990s as his greatest honour in the game, and dismissed the notion that there is added pressure attached to the armband. 

Shearer explained that his upbringing contributes to that ability to let pressure roll off his shoulders, citing his father's "level-headed" attitude to life and having to leave his native North East to go to Southampton at the age of 15.

He also reflected on his memories of England's Euro 96 adventure on home soil as a team that had been under media scrutiny pre tournament reached the semi finals.

On his club career, he reminisced about leaving Southampton to go to Blackburn Rovers where he won his only Premier League title before returning home for an iconic but trophy-less spell at Newcastle United.