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By ESPN Staff

Shearer plays down number two role

Alan Shearer tonight admitted he did not envisage being Kevin Keegan's number two at Newcastle.

Keegan today made an amazing return to the club he managed from 1992-97 to replace Sam Allardyce at St James' Park.

Some fans had been hoping for a 'dream team' of Keegan and Shearer but Shearer said: 'I haven't really seen myself as a number two.'

The former England captain added on BBC1: 'First and foremost I'm not so sure he's thought about it. He's his own man.

'If he were to ring me and ask to speak to me I would certainly speak to him. I'd be foolish not to.

'I was never really a serious possibility (for the manager's job) because they were looking for experience.'

Shearer admitted he is still keen to manage Newcastle at some stage, adding: 'It remains an ambition to manage it some day, when that will be I don't know.

'I hope and pray that he (Keegan) does well because I'm a fan at the end of the day.

'The place will be rocking tonight, the fans have what they want. They want entertainment, passion and commitment, and they haven't seen it of late.

'They will go forward and score goals and I'm sure they will concede a few.

'I was surprised (by the appointment) but Newcastle have that power in his (Keegan's) heart. He wants to do so well for them.

'He failed to win a trophy for them last time but you can bet your bottom dollar he will try to win one this time.'

Former Newcastle defender Warren Barton believes the return of Keegan makes 2007-08 'a season to remember'.

He said: 'It's a season to remember already - he's come back.

'A UEFA Cup spot is a possibility. If I was in the dressing room and he walked in, that would give me a lift.

'The players have got to respond - there is quality in that team.'

He added: 'The players will love playing for him as we all did - it's just what (owner) Mike Ashley and (chairman) Chris Mort and everyone at Newcastle needed. It's great for the club.'

Another former Magpies defender Bobby Moncur, who played for the team in the 1960s and 70s, said: 'It's a bit of a shock and a very nice surprise.

'Initially Alan Shearer was in the frame but I didn't honestly think Kevin would come back.

'But I'm delighted he's coming back because we need a big man - someone to lift the whole place. Kevin is the man to do just that.

And Lawrie McMenemy, who managed Keegan as a player at Southampton, believes that, more than anyone, Keegan can deal with the unique pressures of managing on Tyneside.

'The dressing room won't be a problem, nor will the crowd and the boardroom shouldn't be,' he said.

'Success depends mainly on the players and they'll have to perform - the supporters know that.'

Former England winger Chris Waddle believes the return of Keegan will allow United to once again compete for some of the game's best talent.

'Players look at wages but they like to play for a manager who has got a lot of passion, a lot of desire, and Kevin Keegan is a very big name in the world of football.

'He's got to the end of the month to get some players in, I'm sure there will be a lot of activity.'

Stylish winger David Ginola epitomised the football favoured by Keegan in his first spell at St James'.

The Frenchman believes his former boss, driven by a determination to make up for the narrow failure of 1995-96, will end the Magpies' long wait for silverware.

'I'm very excited, I suppose like every fan of Newcastle,' he told BBC Radio Newcastle.

'Kevin Keegan left Newcastle with a big frustration. Now he's back on track and he will do everything to bring success to Newcastle.

'Newcastle haven't won anything for many years and they are desperate to win something. I'm pretty sure he's the guy who will bring success to Newcastle.'

Keegan told Sky Sports News tonight: 'It's nice to be home. I'm delighted to be back.'

And Mort added: 'I think we've got the right man in the end.

'We didn't think we'd be able to get Kevin back to the club but he's the right man and we're absolutely delighted.'