UEFA.com gave users the chance to send in their tweets for former England captain Alan Shearer using #AskShearer and the questions came flooding in. The ex-Southampton FC, Blackburn Rovers FC and Newcastle United FC forward recalled fond memories of EURO '96, when he topped the scoring charts on home soil, and shared his views on who could be the star man at UEFA EURO 2012.
@DanBrady98: How did it feel when you won 4-1 against the Dutch at Wembley in 1996?
Alan Shearer: It was probably the best atmosphere I played in as an England player. The atmosphere that night was just incredible and to put in the performance we did, and score the goals we did, was great. That was the night really when we thought 'we can actually go on and win this tournament' and that gave us huge confidence. The way the fans were, how colourful they were, and their singing made it a great game to play in.
@Samuel_Crompton: What pressures come with hosting EURO and how did you deal with them in '96?
Shearer: There is pressure and there are expectations because you're determined not to let your own fans down. Again, I go back to that first game, where it's so vital to get something out of it and not get beaten. Then you can feel your way in, grow in confidence and there's not so much pressure. We drew against Switzerland, beat Scotland and then we went on to beat Holland so you have to feel your way in and give the fans something to shout about. We did that.
@PathikGamanaUK: What was the greatest thing about playing in the EURO?
Shearer: Just the buzz of it and the expectation. Players thrive on pressure, they enjoy it. They wouldn't be in the game of football if they didn't enjoy it and get a buzz from it. For me, it was putting myself up against the world's best players and seeing how I could get on. I enjoyed those little battles.
@Jack28Booth: How do the current England team compare to the '96 team?
Shearer: I wouldn't say 'vintage '96' – we could have called ourselves that if we'd gone on and won the tournament but of course penalties again put paid to that [against Germany]. I don't think this is a particularly outstanding squad that Roy [Hodgson] has but I think he will have them very well organised. I don't think we will score many goals but I also don't think we'll concede many because of the way he sets his teams up. We've already seen enough of that in his two friendly games prior to the tournament and I don't see that being any different in the tournament. The team we had in '96 was much more designed to attack and score goals.
@playupfootball: Every major international competition sees a new young talent emerge from under the radar, who will it be this time around?
Shearer: It could be Ashley Young. He's got a real opportunity and I've seen enough of him in games now. I know he hasn't been a regular at Manchester United this season, probably due to fitness at times, but in an England shirt he looks comfortable, calm, relaxed and he could have a big tournament.
@davew00d: 'The top scorer at EURO 2012 won't be a traditional No9'. Discuss.
Shearer: You never know, it could be. [Klaas-Jan] Huntelaar is, in a way, a typical No9 for Holland and he's scoring goals like he did in the qualifying games. [Mario] Gomez for Germany could have a chance of finishing top scorer. He is sort of a traditional No9. He can head it and bring people into the game with a good touch. I think [Miroslav] Klose is as well. He has been around for a long time and has finished top scorer in different tournaments, so I wouldn't be surprised if he were to go close again.
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