"Be patient. Don’t cut corners and do everything the physio tells you.”

Alan Shearer

In this interview Alan Shearer speaks out about his ACL injury from the moment it happened, the surgery, the rehabilitation, comeback… and thereafter.

Alan Shearer (born 13 August 1970) is an retired English professional football player who played as a striker. Widely regarded as one of the best strikers of his generation and one of the greatest players in the history of the Premier League, he is the Premier League’s record goalscorer (260 goals). Shearer was one of the first two players inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame in 2021.

In December 1992 Shearer tore his right ACL in a match against Leeds United.

Shearer played his entire career in the top level of English football. He started his career at Southampton in 1988 before moving to Blackburn Rovers in 1992, where he established himself as among the most prolific goalscorers in Europe. Whilst at Blackburn Rovers, he won the 1994–1995 Premier League, as well as two consecutive Premier League Golden Boots. In the summer of 1996, he joined his hometown club Newcastle United for a then world record £15 million. He led Newcastle to the 1998 FA Cup and 1999 FA Cup finals, and eventually became the club’s all-time top scorer.

He retired at the end of the 2005–2006 season.
Since retiring as a player in 2006, Shearer has worked as a television pundit for the BBC.

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WE WON 3-1 AND I EVEN SCORED TWO GOALS

01. WHEN, WHERE AND HOW DID IT HAPPEN?

“On Boxing Day (26 December) 1992, I played an away game with Blackburn Rovers against Leeds United and tore my ACL in the first half.”

02. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING ABOUT DURING THOSE MOMENTS?

“I sustained that ACL injury in the first half and I also felt pain, I knew something was wrong I just didn’t realise the extent of it. I played the game out. We won 3-1 and I even scored two goals.”

03. DID YOU KNOW WHAT AN ACL INJURY WAS?

“No, I did not know that. And I didn’t know the day after the match that the ACL had been torn. I felt that something was wrong. Four weeks after the match, I tried to play football again, but my knee went down again. The doctors sent me to hospital on 15 February and it was there that they discovered that my anterior cruciate ligament had been torn.”

04WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER FROM THE OPERATION?

“I was in hospital for 10 days as I got a blood clot and an infection.”

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IT WAS LONG, LONELY AND HARD WORK.

05. HOW DID THE REHAB GO?

“It was long, lonely and hard work. I wouldn’t have been nice to live with.
I did everything I was told as I was desperate to get back playing as soon as possible but psychologically it was tough as there was always the small doubt I might not come back as good as I was.”

06. DO YOU CONSIDER THE PHYSICAL OR THE MENTAL PART TO BE THE TOUGHEST? AND WHY?

“Mental! Without any doubt. As I just said, especially the uncertainty of reaching your old level is something that always stays in your head.
Physically, it wasn’t so bad, because I was just really happy to be able to train, even if it was often the same exercises I had to do.”

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IT WAS THE MOMENT THAT HAD KEPT ME GOING IN THE REHAB

07 HOW DID YOU EXPERIENCE YOUR COMEBACK?

“I loved it! That moment when I stood on the training pitch again was just indescribable. It was the moment that had kept me going in the rehab. I always thought about how that moment would be, and that gave me extra motivation to go all the way during my rehabilitation.

That first match after my rehabilitation was even more wonderful if possible. I was excited. I wanted to get the feeling back of not only playing but scoring again and enjoy the game.”

08. ARE YOU PLAYING AND/OR TRAINING DIFFERENTLY NOW AFTER THE INJURY?

“No, I didn’t specifically change anything. I came back 100%.”

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BE PATIENT. DON’T CUT CORNERS. AND DO EVERYTHING THE PHYSIO TELLS YOU.

09. AND NOW, AFTER A LOT OF YEARS, DO YOU STILL HAVE PAIN SOMETIMES?

“No, not really. Only when it’s cold, my knee gets stiff sometimes.”

10. WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO MAKE SURE YOU CAN COME BACK?

Be patient. Don’t cut corners. And do everything the physio tells you.