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Sunday, 02 February 2014

Andy Carroll for England: Why the West Ham striker should go to the World Cup


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SqfWaddon

Andy Carroll made his biggest contribution since his return from injury this weekend with two assists and a strong outing for West Ham. The former Liverpool man's contribution was met with applause and cries of encouragement from the Upton Park faithful and Swansea had no answer to the challenge Carroll posed.

Swansea defenders Chico and Williams breathed a heavy sigh of relief when the forward was somewhat harshly sent off just before the hour mark.

This performance was the result of months of frustration for Carroll, who has had a more than torrid time since his move to West Ham was made permanent in what was a record deal for the London club.

Andy Carroll whuThe striker was originally set to be fit for the start of the season after a heel injury he picked up in May. Yet the problems rolled on for Carroll and the player’s return was continuously put back amid social media rumours of personal issues, suspensions and FA involvement. Even West Ham’s co-chairman David Sullivan admitted that had they known Carroll would be injured for so long the club would not have signed the player. Hardly what the lad, low on confidence, would want to hear.

Yet Carroll is back, and he is looking better than ever. Two excellent headed assists for captain and friend Kevin Nolan led West Ham to a much needed victory over Swansea and there we saw the calls of Andy Carroll for England begin on Twitter.

Daniel Sturridge is currently the preferred choice up front for Roy Hodgson, an accolade earned by the Liverpool striker. His goal tally since joining the Merseyside club has done the talking for Sturridge, and it is well-known that the 24-year-old likes to run at defenders. But what if England needs something different? What is Sturridge is found out or is too selfish for England?

There is no doubt that Carroll brings something different to the party. The boy from Gateshead has been compared to legendary strikers Alan Shearer and Didier Drogba; strong, powerful and an excellent eye for a header. In other words, a classic centre-forward who will bring other players into the game by drawing away the attention of the defence. Carroll already has three assists since his return in the game at Cardiff on the January 12.

His relationship with Kevin Nolan speaks wonders, and if Rooney, a player with infinite more ability than the West Ham captain, can gain a similar level of understanding with Carroll, then England will certainly benefit.

Some will say Carroll does not score enough goals and his record since leaving Newcastle at the beginning of 2011 certainly emphasises that. However, Carroll brings a different dimension to the game, something England could use to their advantage in Brazil during the summer; a direct style of play that the continental sides will not be used to dealing with.

Carroll has shown his worth to England before and the forward gave a decent outing during the Euro 2012 campaign, scoring the first in the 3-2 victory over Sweden. And it’s not just his aerial ability or strength. With Rooney behind in the number 10 position, which he frequents now at Manchester United, Carroll can form a deadly partnership for England given the opportunity. 

Calling all West Ham and England fans: Should Carroll be on the plane to Brazil in June? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.

Mitch can be found on Twitter @MitchWaddon

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