Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lee: Pair Have United Buzzing

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lee: Pair Have United Buzzing

Article excerpt

Byline: By Stuart Rayner

Newcastle United are feeling the benefit of having two natural goalscorers in tandem for the first time in nine seasons, according to Lee Clark.

Having grown up a Magpies fan in Wallsend, and after making his 200th league appearance for the club on Saturday, Clark is well placed to assess Michael Owen and Alan Shearer's place among the United strikers of recent years.

After watching both star in Newcastle's 1-0 win over Manchester City, in which Owen scored the only goal after good work by his fellow striker, Clark thinks the early signs are that the pair can emulate Shearer's prolific partnership with Les Ferdinand. "It is early days, although obviously they linked up with England, but we have two natural goalscorers together again," Clark noted.

"It is probably the closest it has been since Al and Les were together. They were two natural goalscorers and so are Michael and Alan." Shearer and Ferdinand played just one season together at St James's Park, in 1996-7, but between them scored 44 goals.

Clark feels United's current front pairing can also be a fruitful one and that a combination which was broken by Shearer's retirement from international football in 2000 is already showing signs of improvement.

"If one of them is not getting the chances the other will," the former Fulham skipper said.

"Michael gets on the end of things when Alan's heading them on. It is hard for defenders because they think they are covering one, but the other is such a potent goalscorer they don't know where to turn.

"Teams are always worried about that pace Michael has got, over the top and down the side of people, and Alan's got pure aggression and strength.

"Their reputations alone scare people. Defenders are playing with fear against them. They are already getting better all the time, you see it in training. …

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