In July 2013, striker Andy Carroll signed for West Ham on a permanent basis for a club record £15m after a season-long loan spell the previous season.
However, the unfortunate tag ‘flop’ keeps surfacing around Carroll’s name, considering he was once England’s most expensive attacker with Liverpool forking out a staggering £35m for the former Newcastle United frontman in 2012.
Since arriving at Upton Park, Carroll was ruled out for a month with a hamstring injury in his first game in a claret and blue shirt.
It was all down hill from there. He twisted his knee two months later, which ruled him out for two months, damaged his heel in the last match of the 2012/2013 season, resulting in a monstrous seven month layoff, was sidelined for four months on his comeback from his heel injury by tearing his ankle ligaments during pre-season and missed the rest of last season in February after knee surgery.
Even the 27-year-old had a week long setback on his recovery from his current knee surgery, injuring himself while ‘putting his shoes on.’ For many, Carroll is a laughing stock in the Premier League.
Earning approximately £90,000-a-week, in 2014 Carroll took the unwanted accolade of most expensive striker-per-goal, beating the likes of Chelsea’s former £50m man Fernando Torres and ex- Tottenham Hotspur forward Roberto Soldado, costing the East Londoners a mind blowing £7.5m per goal with the two he notched in 16 appearances last year.
Presently, the Geordie is considered to be one of the last choice attackers’ at the Boleyn Ground, as the likes of Mauro Zarate, Diafra Sakho and new addition Nikica Jelavic will all be considered further up in the pecking order.
However, history shows maintaining the fitness of valuable forwards, and indeed the rest of the squad, has proved to be difficult.
As Carroll’s match fitness progresses, starting with Monday night’s intriguing fixture against Carroll’s boyhood club Newcastle, then the powerful target man can eventually make a massive impact this season.
Up until the former England international regular drastically injured his knee in Feburary during last season, no player won more aerial duels than Carroll. On average, Carroll won 9.3 of his headers, four more than Spurs’ towering centre half Federico Fazio and Stoke City’s 6”7 forward Peter Crouch.
Whether it’s creating assists or getting himself on the scoresheet, any Premier League team would love to have a player amongst their ranks with Carroll’s superb aerial ability. Furthermore, after the Hammers’ clash with the Magpies, the East Londoners make the trip to early Premier League title favourites Manchester City.
If it’s omen’s you’re into, no player has scored more Premier League goals against the Citizens than Carroll.
As well as his incredible quality in the air, the criticised striker is also dangerous with his feet with his ferocious left foot.
Combing that with his great work rate and defensive contribution, Andy Carroll is by no means a player who is finished in England’s top flight and will eventually make a significant contribution to West Ham’s, and potentially earn a surprising call from England manager Roy Hodgson ahead of Euro 2016 next summer.