|Andy Carroll was once flatteringly described as a rare breed of England striker, a throwback centre-forward whose aerial dominance and physical strength made defenders fear him.|
At his best during those thrilling early performances for Newcastle United, Carroll looked unplayable. Just three years after Liverpool spent £35? million to lure him away from Tyneside, Carroll is still unplayable following a £15?million switch to West Ham United, but only because he is rarely fit enough to be selected.
Neither have got value for money from a player who, at the age of 25, is giving the impression his best years are already behind him.
Whether Carroll’s constant breakdowns are purely down to bad luck or due to a failure to look after himself properly is a moot point. Regardless of why they have happened, Carroll’s injuries are ruining him as a footballer.
Since leaving Newcastle, where he scored 33 goals in only 60 starts for his Real Madrid jersey 2015 sale hometown club, Carroll has rarely looked the same player. His statistics make miserable reading, seven goals in 22 starts for Liverpool, nine in 35 for West Ham. Since turning a successful loan spell Messi jersey at Upton Park into a long-term move 12 months ago, Carroll has managed to play in just 14 games.
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West Ham thought they were getting far more for their money than a striker whose body already looks like it is unable to cope with the demands made of it. When cheap Barcelona jersey 2015 he has played, he has tended to look rusty and bereft of sharpness.
If Sam Allardyce, a manager renowned for his meticulous approach to sport science, can’t keep him in shape, Carroll is in trouble. If he continues to live a lifestyle that does not befit a professional athlete, the injuries will continue to plague him and he will be playing in the Championship by the time England have another crack at a World Cup.
For those of us who enjoyed seeing an old fashioned No9 bulldozing his way through startled defences, Carroll’s failure to maintain those standards is a terrible waste of a messi jersey 2015 player that could have given England something unique.
There are very few players of Carroll’s type who are so effective and while the hipsters may scoff at the idea that a retro centre-forward is still relevant in the era of false nines and fluid, flexible formations, there is nothing wrong with starting a new fashion by taking inspiration from the past.
According to Xavi, the Barcelona and Spain midfielder, England need to play to their strengths rather than try to hide their weaknesses.
He argued England’s best weapons are their wingers and if you are able to open teams up on the flanks, it makes sense to have a striker who can get on the end of the crosses they deliver.
There are few signs we are getting any closer to mastering the intricate short passing game of Spain or the irresistible blend of power and skill that turned Germany into World Cup winners, so why not look at what we are good and pick the players best suited to it.
Carroll would enable England to change their approach if they needed to, but such thoughts are pointless while he continues to spend so much time injured or trying to recover.
Few teams focus their offensive play down the flanks because few of them have a striker who can beat a centre-back in the air, or worry them enough for space to be left for others to exploit.
Both England’s goals at the World Cup came from crosses, yet neither Wayne Rooney or Daniel Sturridge were asked to play in a way that benefits from this sort of delivery. England regularly had merely one player to aim for in the area, making it easy to defend crosses. One centre-back attacked the ball, the other stuck tight to the striker. Rooney and Sturridge aren’t bad in the air, but it is not one of their great strengths either.
Carroll is different, but it’s difficult to know when he last played well for a prolonged period. There have been the odd games here and there, but nothing consistent enough to suggest he deserves to be back in the England side.
West Ham were keen to stress Carroll had done everything asked of him in pre-season but instead of reigniting his career, he has broken down again and will miss four months of the new season after an operation to repair ankle ligament damage. He also missed the first six months of last season with a heel problem.
West Ham have said they will sign a striker to replace him and they do not necessarily mean only while he is injured. Although nothing has been said publicly, West Ham were open to the idea of selling Carroll this summer.
Newcastle, as they have been ever since they lost him, have been mulling over whether to make a bid, well aware of how popular the move would be among fans who love to see one of their own playing in black and white stripes.
However, they were already wary of Carroll’s poor fitness record and will only consider buying him after another lengthy rehabilitation for a significantly reduced price. West Ham may well prefer to persevere with their club record signing rather than cut their losses.
Carroll is happy in London, his agent made that clear when rumours of a return to Newcastle began to circulate earlier this month, but perhaps it is time for the Geordie to go back to familiar surroundings.
There was a time when Carroll needed to get away from Newcastle’s nightlife, but moving away from his family and friends has arguably given him even more distractions in his life. Perhaps the only way for Carroll to return to his best is to return to the club where he once looked like the future of English football.