London - Former Newcastle captain Alan Shearer believes Magpies striker Andy Carroll is ready to follow in his footsteps by making the step up to the England squad.
Shearer, who netted 30 goals in 63 appearances for England, said Carroll's progress for Newcastle this season had convinced him that the 21-year-old deserved to be called up by Fabio Capello.
"A month ago, I would maybe have said it was too early, but he's getting better and better every game," Shearer told Newcastle's Evening Chronicle.
"You can't ignore that but as I say when people were pushing him at the start of the season, it might have been too early.
"He's still learning and maturing, but the kid is getting better and better.
"(Capello) has to put him in sooner or later and I don't think it would be a surprise if he was picked now."
The physically imposing Carroll scored his sixth goal of the season on Sunday as Newcastle scored an upset 1-0 win over Arsenal at the Emirates.
Shearer described Carroll's performance against the Gunners as "absolutely awesome."
"He completely bullied the defence and that's great to see," Shearer said.
"Arsenal are a team that are trying to win the Premier League, so it's a great that he's doing it against the best teams and that he keeps learning."