England striker Andy Carroll came off the West Ham bench to score the Hammers winning goal in last weekend’s 2-1 win over reigning Premier League champions Chelsea at the Boleyn Ground. The win moved Slaven Bilic’s team up to third in the top-flight table.
It was a display of just what the former-Newcastle striker can do, when fit and that has been the problem for the striker, staying fit.
Carroll could be on benching warming duty against Watford later today, but looks like he is now ready to make an impact again.
Since making a club-record move to the Boleyn Ground in the summer of 2013 from Liverpool he has made just 37 appearances for the Hammers. On his day he is a nightmare for Premier League defences. Carroll is unplayable when he is fully-fit, but staying fit has been a major problem.
Carroll now seems confident of staying fit courtesy of a new training scheduled designed by Hammers boss Slaven Bilic. He told Sky Sports: “He [Bilic] has been very good with me, he has understood that I was out for a long time,”
“He hasn’t forced me back into training, I’ve been doing training on my own schedule and maybe missing a day during the week. He’s understood what I need, and he’s been great.
“I would train every day after coming back from injury and play at the weekend [in the past]. Maybe that wasn’t the best thing to do, but it’s what I wanted and the manager wanted. To be honest, I still want that, but he [Bilic] has put a stop to it. I’ll be in the gym while the lads train.
“Rushing back last season was hard on my body, and this season I have taken it easier. I have been training now for a good couple of months and I feel good. This is the longest I have had without being rushed back in. It’s great to be back on the pitch – I had eight months in the gym by myself, and those were dark days.”
Carroll is a unique talent in the modern English game, a throwback to the old-fashioned English centre-forward. He is a fantastic out-ball to have for his defence, when the pressure is on his team he can dig them out.
The big physical centre-forward may be a dying breed, but Carroll does have his merits. The 26-year-old does have good skill to go with his physical presence. The mix of attributes has led to Carroll making two very big money moves.
Carroll’s attitude and lifestyle has been questioned by many, including former-boss Sam Allardyce. It seems that the striker is attempting to turn things around at the moment. He has the talent to be a star striker, but he just needs to get his head and body right, which in both cases may be very hard to do.
In recent years Andy Carroll has looked like a sure thing for the England squad when fit. He gives the Three Lions a physical option that none of the other English players can give Roy Hodgson.
The big striker is the sort of player that can be thrown on late on in a game to cause tired defences major problems. He can create havoc in defences and most importantly scores vital goals.
If Andy Carroll can stay fit for the rest of the season and get into the West Ham’s starting line-up then he will have a fantastic chance to be in the Three Lions European Championship squad for the summer.
Unfortunately for Andy Carroll the injuries he has had to endure throughout his career has seemed like his talent has been wasted. No doubt the player himself will be the most frustrated of anybody that his body lets him down.
There have been a lot of false dawns in Andy Carroll’s career of late. Everybody related to West Ham has hoped that the striker could stay away from those niggling injuries.
Maybe Slaven Bilic’s new training schedule can help Andy Carroll finally stay fit and fulfil his potential, but I have a feeling that Hammers fans will not be holding their breath.
Can Andy Carroll now stay fit for West Ham?