Andy Carroll: Once £35million signing for Liverpool, the West Ham striker faces an uncertain future in the game
It was three years ago when Andy Carroll was West Ham’s man of the moment – notching a hat-trick in a 3-3 draw against Arsenal at Upton Park.
With the Hammers chasing the game 2-0, Carroll took matters into his own hands as he single-handedly got his side back into the contest with two quick-fire goals – displaying his aerial prowess and sheer power in abundance.
The former England striker then turned the game completely on its head when he rose highest to Michail Antonio’s cross to make it 3-2 and while the Hammers were pegged back and had to settle for a point – there was no doubting which way the match ball was heading that day.
He was unplayable and simply too hot for the Gunners defence to handle that day.
Sadly, we have not seen a performance like that on a regular enough basis where Carroll is concerned.
There have been some high points in his career, but quite simply not enough for a player with his talent.
Carroll, 30, has been plagued by injuries since joining West Ham from Liverpool for around £15million in 2013, penning a six-year deal on a reported £80,000 a week.
A TIMELINE OF ANDY CARROLL’S INJURY HELL IN EAST LONDON
September 1 2012 to September 30 – hamstring injury. Four games missed
November 28 to January 26 2013 – knee injury. Ten games missed
May 20 2013 to September 1 – heel bone injury. Four games missed
September 9 to January 11 2014 – fractured foot. 23 games missed
July 24 2014 to November 3 – Torn ligament. 11 games missed
February 12 2015 to September 14 – MCL knee injury. 25 games missed
January 12 to February 3 2016 – unknown injury. Five games missed
August 18 to December 2 2016 – knee injury. 17 games missed
February 4 2017 – to March 6 – groin injury. Four games missed
April 15 to September 2017 – groin injury. 11 games missed
January 2018 to April 15 – ankle injury. 13 games missed
July 2018 to November 2018 – ankle injury. 15 games missed
February 2019 to present – ankle surgery. four games missed, set to miss rest of season
A lot was expected from Carroll after his £35million deadline day transfer to Anfield in January 2011, that after establishing himself as a real force to be reckoned with at Newcastle.
His spell in Merseyside was a major disappointment, spending the last year while contracted to the club out on loan at the Hammers.
It hasn’t gone much better in east London, with his injury problems proving to have a huge hindrance on his progress.
In total, he has failed to start more than 15 games in each of the last six seasons.
West Ham have an option to trigger a two-year extension on his contract, but owing to his injury record that is very unlikely to happen.
He recently went under the knife in an attempt to cure a long-standing ankle problem, a procedure which is likely to rule him out for the remainder of the campaign.
In all likelihood Carroll has played his last game for the West Ham United.
The striker’s off-the-field behaviour has also been scrutinised, with his former boss Sam Allardyce telling Alan Brazil’s Sports Breakfast last October that the 6ft striker ‘could look after himself better’.
“I don’t think [his injury hell is] ever going to end” he said. “He could look after himself better.
“Andy would be one of those who would do all he can to get fit, but when he back to where he needed to be he didn’t really maintain that level or push on.
“Andy and Kevin Nolan liked a night out. There’s nothing wrong with that now and again, but it depends how often you’re doing it and whether you’re doing it at the right time.
“You can’t afford to abuse your body in that way, especially at Premier League level.”
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On his day Carroll could torment most defences in the top flight, but sadly those times look very much a thing of the past.
So what next for Carroll? The MLS and the Chinese Super League look the most viable options, with Premier League clubs unlikely to take a risk on him, and Championship sides unable to afford his wage packet.
The towering forward, who was capped nine times by his country, will be looking back on his Hammers career as as a case of ‘what if’.
Is retirement out of the question? While Carroll still has time on his side, there is no guarantee that he will ever rid himself off this ongoing injury misery.
It could have turned out all so differently, that’s for sure.
Source: SportsLatest TS