Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

You Can Make It

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

You Can Make It

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Alan Shearer last night threw his weight behind fellow Newcastle United striker Michael Chopra as the youngster attempts to prove he has what it takes to become a top Premiership player.

Chopra was handed his first start for the Magpies in the 1-0 defeat by Blackburn Rovers on Sunday, but failed to make the sort of impact he would have liked on his full debut.

The 20-year-old began brightly, only to fade out of the game in the second half before being replaced by his rival for the role playing alongside skipper Shearer, Congo DR captain Lomana LuaLua.

Nevertheless, it could have been very different for the Gosforth-born forward had he not got over-excited at the sniff of a first-half opportunity and run into an offside position before sliding the ball past Brad Friedel.

Shearer, though, is still adamant that Chopra has all the necessary attributes to become a success at United, despite his current struggle to command a regular first-team place.

He explained: "All Michael needs is a goal. At the moment he is desperate for that first goal and that can effect you. When he gets that first goal, plenty more will follow.

"It will be a day he and his family will always remember, making his full debut for Newcastle United. He had a good day, but it could have been an excellent one.

"I think he was probably a little over eager in the first half and that is why he ran into an offside position when he perhaps didn't need to, but he is a young lad and he is still learning.

"All I've said to him is that he just needs to do for the first team what he has been doing in the reserves for the last two seasons. It is a higher standard of football in the Premiership, but I'm sure he will score plenty of goals, he just needs to get up and running.

"People maybe expected him to come into the side and win the game for us, but it doesn't work like that. He is stepping up to a higher level of football and there was a lot of pressure on him. …

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