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Maradona on Shearer and Owen

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Argentinian World Cup winner Diego Maradona is backing Michael Owen to fill Alan Shearer's boots for Newcastle next season.


Owen will return from the World Cup finals to lead the Magpies' line with his 35-year-old former team-mate having retired and all eyes on him after an injury-wrecked first campaign at St James' Park.


However, Maradona, who was in England to take part in the Soccer Aid initiative last month, is confident the 26-year-old England striker is more than capable of taking over the Tyneside talisman's mantle.


"I used to love watching Alan Shearer play," he told Newcastle's official website, www.nufc.co.uk. "He was one of the world's greatest strikers, not just for one or two seasons, but all the way through his career.


"He had everything. He scored some striker's goals from close range, but he could shoot with both feet and he was great in the air.


"Alan Shearer was the complete centre forward, both for his club and his country.


"Newcastle United will miss him, there is no doubt about that - but I do not think he will be hard to replace because they already have another world class striker at the club in Michael Owen.


"If Newcastle can create chances next season, then Michael Owen will score goals.


"And also he wears the number 10 shirt - so he must be a special player!"

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