Well, let’s face it – after West Ham’s less than successful performance against Watford last time out, very few voices within the English footballing community will be singing the praises of Andy Carroll any time soon.
Football can be a strangely fickle game at times. Last week, the former Newcastle and Liverpool striker was the darling of all Hammers fans after impressively scoring the winner against Chelsea in traditional centre-forward style. This time around however, the 26-year-old Gateshead-born front-man seemingly put an end to the recent positivity surrounding his name, after proving massively at fault for conceding his side’s opening goal in the 2-0 loss at Vicarage Road.
Carroll’s failed attempt at clearing the ball from a set-piece somehow produced an ill-fated Cruyff-turn from the Hammer’s no. 9, which subsequently resulted in a dramatic loss of possession in the penalty box and a frustrating own-goal from Aaron Cresswell to boot.
So then, in light of the current uncertainty surrounding the once £35 million man and his recent resurgence back among the English top-flight, does West Ham’s Andy Carroll deserve to be handed a role on the international scene with England in the summer?
Well, after this weekend’s truly ridiculous mishap from the front-man, it ultimately remains hard to imagine Andy Carroll pulling on the Three Lions shirt relatively soon at least. Although one isolated incident obviously shouldn’t cast a dark shadow over the entire spectrum of the man’s upcoming Premier League career, it was nonetheless a moment in which Carroll’s distinct lack of technical ability really came to the forefront.
He may well have scored some fairly promising goals on the deck in the past of course – for last season’s fine finish at the Liberty Stadium certainly springs to mind – but overall, this is a player who doesn’t thrive when the ball is played to feet. Some opinions on the striker have definitely been warped over the years thanks to Liverpool’s naïve over-valuation of the front-man back in 2011, but this particular offering does in-fact seem to ring, at least partially, true.
Andy Carroll is extremely one dimensional inside the final third, he can make West Ham revert to their previously unentertaining approach formed under Sam Allardyce, and his link-up play in front of goal often leaves a great deal to be desired. When West Ham failed to impress against Watford last time out, the ball-playing likes of Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini were largely shunned out of the game thanks to Carroll’s presence in the team, and the Hammers’ temptation to play the ball long over and over again.
The 26-year-old therefore arrives as a somewhat problematic case in some perspectives – but still – there is ultimately more to Andy Carroll’s overall game than just the obvious shortcomings. In reality, this is a man who quite possibly possesses the best aerial quality up-top out of all of his counter-parts in the rest of world football…
It’s a big statement of course, but one that nonetheless makes sense when you see the striker rise into the air and send the ball home in dramatic style with his head. He is also fantastically gifted at bringing possession down from long-balls, and certainly wins most of his aerial battles far more often than not. England would therefore be mad not to include the player in next summer’s Euro 2016 finals – as long as he manages to stay away from the long-term injury problems that have so far blighted his Premier League career.
Throughout the 2014 World Cup, Roy Hodgson saw fit to bring on Rickie Lambert when his team were in desperate need of a goal against some truly formidable opposition. It remains unsurprising that England were knocked-out after two mere group matches with decision-making like that going on behind the scenes – so if the Three Lions actually want to provide some form of threat across Euro 2016 – Andy Carroll’s unique skill-set simply must be involved within the squad.
Yes, he often seems like a pointless addition when handed a starting role in a team that predominantly plays on the deck – but as an impact sub coming on against tired legs and equally tired minds – the current West Ham no. 9 arguably represents the perfect addition.
Hodgson must therefore make sure he doesn’t repeat his previous mistakes by selecting a squad actually worthy of achieving success at Euro 2016, rather than picking the wrong players simply because they scored a few goals here and there in the run up to the tournament.
If you think Andy Carroll and co. can get back to winning ways next weekend, West Ham are currently 11/8 to beat Everton with Bet 365
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