Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew believes West Ham striker Andy Carroll is one of few forwards in the world who are “unplayable”.
Pardew, who sold Carroll to Liverpool for £35 million during his time in charge of Newcastle United in 2011, knows the threat the 26-year-old possesses.
Carroll has only played 21 minutes of Premier League football since February but is now fit and ready to work his way back into the West Ham line-up.
“He’s unplayable at times,” Pardew said ahead of Saturday’s hosting of West Ham.
“There aren’t many strikers who are completely unplayable, and he’s one of them. In recent years in the Premier League, as an attacker of the ball in the air, there has been no one better than him.
“There aren’t many strikers with the same aggression as him on crosses. He will slam into a centre half to try to score — not in an illegal way, but he gets bumps and bruises and it’s his bravery that gets him into trouble at times.
“I hope he gets a free run from injury because he’s a fine player.”
He added: “He gives you a powerful presence at the top of the pitch, and at set plays. His technical ability is underrated in my opinion, and I’ve always found him to be a real winner on the pitch.”