Due to Andy Carroll’s devastating injury record since he signed for West Ham back in the summer of 2013 he has not had much time on the pitch.
At times last season the club would have been desperate to see him in action because of the lack of goals that the Hammers were scoring, but now they have a plethora of strikers and have changed the system to provide more goals from all areas of the team. The question is does Andy Carroll still have a role to play at West Ham? In my opinion he definitely does and these are the reasons why.
Carroll was the club’s record signing costing £17m from Liverpool last summer. Although his injury record has been less than satisfactory and contrary to some reports suggesting that the Irons may be looking to cash in on him soon, I think it would be a mistake if they did so, purely due to the fact that so much investment went into his signing. It would just be a waste of both time and money and with the club adding extra pace upfront in the close season I believe they should give him a chance.
I believe that he will add to the striking options to cover possible injuries, suspensions and changes to the squad. As always there is the busy festive programme ahead when
clubs always face four games in a matter of days. Depending on how the team perform and the wellbeing of the players, manager Sam Allardyce may choose to change the team around. Having Carroll back to full fitness would provide a good quality option if necessary.
Added to that, Senegal are odds on to qualify for January’s African Nations Cup, so there is the distinct possibility that West Ham may lose out if Diafra Sakho is called up to take part. Additionally, this could severely weaken West Ham’s midfield; Cheikou Kouyate may also be named in the Senegal squad and as Cameroon are involved, then it could mean losing the influential Alex Song too.
When Carroll is deemed fit enough to be under consideration Allardyce may decide to integrate him into his current system; although most Premier League don’t tend to play this way it seems to be working well for the Hammers at present. Imagine how exciting it would be to see three strikers play at the same time!
His presence will also be important when it comes to playing the more physical teams. For example, Allardyce could have certainly done with him at Stoke on Saturday; although the full-back pairing of Aaron Cresswell and Carl Jenkinson have performed superbly since they were partnered together, the Potters certainly had worked on how to make them less effective. It was only when Carlton Cole was introduced that the visitors started to get a grip on the game and I think that for future fixtures against similar sides to Stoke City, it may just be beneficial to have Carroll playing.
In an interview with Sky Sports earlier this week, owner David Sullivan alluded to the fact that, once Carroll has recovered from his latest setback, he could play on for the next ten years without a re-occurrence. This suggests that Sullivan still believes he was a good investment, and that he needs more time to show just how much of an impact he can make when he is fully fit.
Carroll is now back in training but in his interview Sullivan stated that he is still some way off a return. However the argument and evidence presented in this article suggests that we should keep hold of him and give him time to prove he has the quality that made the club invest such a large sum of money in him.