ALAN Shearer has been the one saving grace for Blackburn Rovers this season and now fans are wondering: Is he the best player ever to wear the blue and white halves?

In a season that started off with so much promise, Shearer's goals have underlined the fact the he is the best in the business.

Ray Harford has run out of words to describe his prize asset who not only scores goals with frightening regularity but makes them as well.

They used to half joke about Stanley Matthews' ability to centre a ball with the lace on top and away from the waiting forehead. Shearer could probably do the same; race through to get on the end of the cross and nod it into the net!

If Rovers manage to scramble a European place, then Harford will surely be hailing the prowess of the Newcastle man. Without a doubt Big Alan is the King of Ewood!

There have been only two occasions this season when the goals have dried up for England's premier hitman - in the best-forgotten European Champions League campaign and, more recently, a run of three league games without a goal, which coincided with three consecutive defeats.

The run knocked Rovers off course for a UEFA Cup spot when it seemed well within their reach.

Now it is a battle to recover that lost ground. But those slender hopes are still there thanks to Shearer's wonderful hat-trick against Spurs on Saturday - taking his season's total to 34.

It was against the men from White Hart Lane that Shearer whizzed into the record books back in January when his goal took him to 100 in the Premiership in just 118 starts.

And it takes more than a few knocks to put him out of the side - who can remember when he last missed a game through injury!

It just goes to show how invaluable a player he is at Ewood and if he is eventually lured by the lire or coaxed back to his native North East it would prove impossible to replace him.

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