It hasn't been the easiest of seasons for
West Ham United striker Andy Carroll. Having secured a permanent move to the
club where he spent time on loan last season, he quickly got injured and then
unfairly found himself labeled as a waste of money. It’s perhaps
understandable when football fans look at players unfavorably, but board
members at his own club were openly questioning the wisdom behind his signing.
For all his injury problems as well as
reported off the field difficulties, there is no doubting the man’s
talent. He knows he’s going to have to live out his career with the
awfully simplistic and stereotypical tag of “old fashioned number nine,” but
the reality is he gives his club and country a different option in the forward
role. To extend on that, defenders have become so conditioned to playing
against one striker, who is generally small and diminutive, or a false nine,
that Carroll has the potential to be a huge asset. Defenders who haven't
played against a Carroll like figure for years, or who do so perhaps once or
twice a season, will be terrified of him.
To the player’s credit, he has never lost
his own sense of self-worth and belief, and despite receiving a three game ban
following a controversial red card against Swansea in early February, he is
ready to deliver the goods for his club from now until the end of the
season. He also has an eye on the plane to Brazil, probably knowing that
he has the goods to do a number on teams from the bench when defenders are
tired from playing 75 minutes in stifling heat.
Speaking to West Ham United’s official
website, Carroll said, "The sending-off [against Swansea] has happened and
I was annoyed at the time with missing games, which was not what I wanted after
the [injury hit] season that I've had, but I'm over it now. I just need to focus on playing the
games now and getting back in the team and playing games. I have just got
to work hard in training, because that is all I can do. At the end of the day,
the manager picks the team." Carroll
ended on England, saying simply, "I have definitely not given up on the
England squad and I never will do."
Carroll is expected to feature in the
England squad for the upcoming friendly against Denmark, where he’ll have the
chance to display his credentials for a place in the World Cup squad.
With Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney certs for Brazil, injury and fitness
permitting, and the other two probable spots for forward likely open for a big
man and a smaller, quicker on the ground player, Carroll is probably competing
against Southampton’s Rickie Lambert for the big man berth, with Danny Welbeck
and Jermain Defoe in contention for the other spot.