Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer has hailed the resiliance and mental strength of Andy Carroll after the striker maintained his form in the face of off-field problems.
Carroll scored his first goals for new club Liverpool in Monday's 3-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Manchester City, and repeatedly found himself in the headlines for his activities away from St James' Park while at Newcastle.
However, Carroll's form on the pitch won him a £35 million January move to Anfield, and Shearer has been hugely impressed by a player with whom he worked briefly during his eight-game spell as Magpies boss.
He told the Evening Chronicle: "Andy is excellent. I like the way he bullies defenders. He's a no-nonsense type of centre-forward - technically good, devastating in the air with a rocket left foot, and deceptively fast.
"What's more, Andy is mentally very strong, which is so important. During all his off-field problems up here, he never let anything affect his game.''
Shearer also revealed he has been close to accepting a first permanent managerial post after failing to be put off by his time at St James', during which he was unable to prevent the club from slipping out of the top flight.
He said: "Yes, I have had interviews and got close to taking a managerial job. I loved my eight weeks at Newcastle, despite the way it ended.
"I would seriously consider going back into football, but it would have to be right. It's imperative that you have a chance of success at your first job. That's what I would be looking for.''