Alan Shearer, who was yesterday described as "England's jewel in the crown" by Glenn Hoddle, has consulted a leading specialist amid fears that he needs a second groin operation.
The world's most expensive footballer, whose two goals against Poland on Wednesday savention.
Shearer came back from the first operation to become the leading scorer in the Euro 96 finals. However, it is common for players who have surgery on one side of the groin to need similar work done on the other soon afterwards. The signs are not good for Shearer, Newcastle or England. He carried on unable to train for a couple of months last season, before missing the final two games for Blackburn Rovers when they were pushing for a Uefa Cup place. Now the timing of possible surgery will be down to Shearer and the Newcastle manager, Kevin Keegan, while keeping one eye on England's needs. Shearer's absence from England's World Cup campaign - they play Georgia away next month and Italy at home in February - would be calamitous. His performance against Poland had Hoddle likening him to Gerd Muller, Mario Kempes, and Paolo Rossi. "He's our jewel in the crown," Hoddle said, adding how vital it is to have the edge a world-class striker gives a team at international level. Fans wishing to ensure they see a fully fit Shearer in action against Italy will have to pay for tickets for the home games against Georgia and Moldova as well. Tickets for the game on 12 February are not on sale until the new year, but an application form can be obtained by calling a Wembley hotline number, with tickets for the Italy game priced at between pounds 60 and pounds 14 and seats for the encounters against Georgia on 30 April and Moldova on 10 September both priced between pounds 55 and pounds 14. …