Andros Townsend and Jermain Defoe can both count themselves “unlucky” not to be representing England at Euro 2016, believes Alan Shearer.
Townsend was one of the few positives in Newcastle United’s unsuccessful battle against the drop.
The rapid 24-year-old made the preliminary list of players but he wasn’t named among the 23-man squad jetting off to France after playing just 15 minutes in the 2-1 friendly win over Australia at the Stadium of Light.
Defoe scored 15 Premier League goals on the way to helping Sunderland secure safety but didn’t even make the preliminary squad.
And Shearer believes Townsend, in particular, had something “totally different” to offer Roy Hodgson’s side.
“When you look at it really, both of them can count themselves unlucky,” Shearer told the Gazette.
“Andros was one of the few positives for Newcastle during the final few months of season.
“And Jermain has scored goals, and he’s one of the main reasons why Sunderland stayed up.
“I understand him more than Andros being left out with the youngsters we’ve got coming through – particularly Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane, who had a brilliant season also.
“But I think Andros can count himself unlucky really because he could probably do something totally different to anyone else in the squad.”
The 45-year-old hopes England can draw inspiration from Leicester City’s title-winning season.
He added: “I’m hoping that we can show some progression and some improvement, which shouldn’t be too hard from previous tournaments.
“I don’t think we can win it, but you never know – Leicester won the Premier League so anything’s possible.
“I’m hoping we can get to at least a semi-final,” added the former England international, who scored 30 goals in 63 appearances.
Shearer was speaking at the launch event of the Entertainers 20th Anniversary Game – which will see Shearer return to the dugout.
The Match of the Day pundit is teaming up with the likes of Les Ferdinand and Rob Lee to take on a Manchester United team managed by Keith Gillespie at Kingston Park Stadium later this year. The game takes place almost 20-years to the day since the famous 5-0 thrashing of Manchester United at St James’s Park, with money raised going towards the Alan Shearer Foundation.
“I’m pretty sure we won’t see the football we saw that day, but I’m really hoping we can give them something to shout about a little and give them a little entertainment,” added Shearer.
“It’ll be great to get that group back together again.
“Obviously that tag ‘Entertainers’ was started before I arrived in 1996 but I want to get the majority of that squad back together.
“Pav won’t be there after the tragic news about what happened to him. And David Ginola’s not very well, but hopefully David will be okay to play as well.”
Shearer won’t be pulling on his boots again though – unless Newcastle are awarded a late penalty.
He added: “Unfortunately not. I’ll be in the dugout – I might kick it off, or we might get a penalty and I might even get on to take that.
“But my knees are shot to pieces so I can’t do the 90 minutes anymore. It would be great if it’s 5-0 again, fingers crossed!”
The Alan Shearer Foundation was set up to support the Alan Shearer Centre, in Newcastle, a highly specialist, disability, respite, residential and social provision for people with complex disabilities and acute sensory impairments.
“It’s a great cause – it’s for my foundation,” added Shearer. “We give it away to users for nothing but to do that it costs £250,000 a year to do that.
“This will go a long way to helping that. Obviously we have the foundation and the golf day, and we use that also to raise money.
“Hopefully we’ll get a good crowd and give them a bit of entertainment to raise money for this great cause.”
Tickets for the game on Sunday, October 9 (1.30pm kick-off) are available now, £10 for adults and £5 children. They can be purchased from www.newcastlefalcons.co.uk or via 0871 226 6060. For corporate packages call 0191 214 2892.