I have to admit I am really on the fence when it comes to the merits of West Ham striker Andy Carroll. Earlier his career he looked like the sort of fearsome centre-forward in the Duncan Ferguson mould, to use the cliché ‘an old-fashioned English centre-forward’.
The sort of striker that on his day was simply unplayable. However, too many injuries have ravaged his career and it always only seems a matter of time before his body breaks down again and he suffers another injury setback.
Cresswell championing his cause
Hammers teammate Aaron Cresswell has been championing his cause of late. Asked if Carroll can make the England squad for next year’s World Cup, the full-back told Sky Sports: “Of course he can. Everyone knows what Andy is capable of, especially in the air, and you could say it’s a different dimension and that different way of playing.
“If Andy stays fit between now and the end of the season, there is no reason why he can’t be in contention.
“Everyone wants to be pushing for that World Cup spot and all you can do is keep playing your best week in, week out and hope to make that plane.”
One part of Cresswell’s statement hit the nail right on the head, in the ‘If Andy can stay fit’ part. The 28-year-old cannot seem to avoid injuries big or small.
He would add something different to the squad
English football has evolved in recent years and the big powerful centre-forward has disappeared from the game. A number of top British teams have adopted a passing style of play and the days of the long ball are mainly restricted to a few teams near the mid-to-bottom half of the table.
The move away from direct football has almost made the big centre-forward obsolete, a dinosaur in the modern world. However, some dinosaurs were dangerous and that is exactly what Andy Carroll is on his day.
The England national team do not really have much of a style of play at the moment under the beige Gareth Southgate. If they did, I doubt it would involve launching long balls in the direction of a giant centre-forward, though.
However, if a team needs a goal sometimes the direct route to goal is not the worst idea. Football is a simple game and often the quickest route is the best route. For me, there is not just one way of playing.
I love to watch attacking, possession-based football as much as the next person, but I am not a football snob. If a player has a particular skill-set that he can add to the England squad then why not use it. Andy Carroll adds something different for England, something that no other player realistically offers the Three Lions.
Not sure if he is in contention
This debate seems to happen on the regular basis about Andy Carroll. England does have a number of good forward options heading to Russia next year. The 28-year-old has not featured for England since 2012.
The West Ham forward is currently odds of 9/1 to make the England World Cup squad. Harry Kane is a sure-fire starter up front, while the likes of Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford seem almost certain to be in the squad.
That probably only leaves one forward position, if Southgate decides to select four forwards for the squad of course. The likes of Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge and Jermain Defoe will all be looking for a place in Southgate’s 23-man squad.
Andy Carroll certainly has work to do to be under consideration. The main thing he has to do is actually stay clear of injury, which he has struggled to do for much of his career.
If fit and firing, Carroll is a good asset for the England squad. However, at the moment it seems like there are more reliable players available to Gareth Southgate and he would struggle to get in the 23-man squad if it was announced in the near future.
Should Andy Carroll be considered for England’s World Cup squad?
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