It’s been a rollercoaster week for Liverpool striker Andy Carroll. The 23-year-old has been bombed out of Anfield by new Reds boss Brendan Rodgers, who quite rightly seems to believe that Carroll doesn’t suit the way he wants his team to play – given the evidence available to us about Rodgers’ philosophy, that makes a lot of sense. But it leaves Carroll’s future in the balance and a season-long loan at West Ham United was a more than satisfactory solution for all parties, although Liverpool would arguably have preferred a permanent transfer.
Carroll made his Hammers debut in their impressive 3-0 win over Fulham at the Boleyn Ground in yesterday’s early kick-off, playing a big role in the win thanks to his physical presence and the winning of some crucial headers. I’ve seen it argued that winning headers and not scoring goals is nothing new for Carroll, but the result is the most important statistic and he made a telling impact on yesterday’s West Ham win in a way he couldn’t do often enough for Liverpool last season. Kevin Nolan, Winston Reid and Matt Taylor were West Ham’s goalscorers.
Unfortunately for Carroll, West Ham and indeed England, Carroll’s debut didn’t reach the 70th minute. Sam Allardyce has indicated that he was preparing a substitution for Carroll before he picked up his injury, which is thought the be a pulled hamstring. He has been withdrawn from the England squad as a result, and will not be available for Friday’s opening FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifier against Moldova in Chisinau, or the game against Ukraine at Wembley next Tuesday.
With Carroll and Wayne Rooney injured, the England squad now contains just three forwards: Daniel Sturridge of Chelsea, Jermain Defoe of Tottenham Hotspur and Danny Welbeck of Manchester United. Arsenal’s Theo Walcott is also in the squad, albeit as a midfielder, and manager Roy Hodgson will be able to replace Carroll once today’s three Premier League matches have been concluded.
The next strikers in line would appear to be Aston Villa’s Darren Bent, who scored a thumping half-volley against Tranmere Rovers last Tuesday, and Peter Crouch, who scored for Stoke City in the Premier League yesterday. However, I wouldn’t be entirely shocked to see an unexpected replacement called up.