Usually a player who picks up a serious injury in pre season receives some sympathy. Not Andy Carroll though, who is often mocked because of his previous history. It’s sad to see a player who has had upwards of £50m of transfer fees spent on him, not getting the opportunity to play because of injury. It’s obvious he has a lot of talent, and could be helpful for the national side; but, he is now looked on as an injury prone player.
West Ham gambled last summer, paying the fee of £15m. This is big for a club like the Hammers and they will now be regretting that move, as he looks set to miss a large chunk of this season. They will be hoping he returns to fitness quicker than he did last year.
He is still only 25 years old and has plenty of years ahead of him if he does get his fitness under control as his game doesn’t rely on pace. Last season, he only managed to play in 15 league games for West Ham, scoring twice, but he did improve as the season drew to a close. Andy Carroll is at his best when he has had a run of games in succession. Yet, it’s clear he struggles to maintain his fitness over the close season. It is a huge worry that he has contracted major injuries in two consecutive summers. This does suggest he needs a tailored fitness plan that he should follow over the close season.
The former Newcastle and Liverpool forward only played in 30 matches in a season on two occasions. It has been impossible for West Ham to make Carroll the focal point of their side. This was clear last season when they struggled to find a striker to lead the line in his absence. Sam Allardyce played a system with no recognised striker on many occasions. If a club like West Ham spend £15m on a player, they expect that player to become integral to their system. His injury problems make that is an impossible task for Carroll.
Although, West Ham learned from last season by signing Mauro Zarate and Enner Valencia over the summer. This provides them with strength in depth in the striking positions. If these two South Americans have a good start to the season, Andy Carroll may struggle to get back into the side when he returns to fitness. This would be a huge blow to him, but he can’t expect West Ham to continue to wait for him to reach full fitness. Last season, there were fears of relegation at one stage and without the cover up front, this season could have gone the same way.
It will be intriguing to see what happens over the next year for Andy Carroll. It looks like West Ham have wasted a lot of money on him, but he could still repay the faith if he gets and stays fit. Hopefully Carroll will get fit, score lots of goals for West Ham and become a key part of the England squad. That looks an unlikely outcome at the moment.
The Hammers may opt to cut their losses and offload the Geordie striker for a reduced fee. If that is the case, he could find himself returning to St James’ Park. If he does continue to suffer from injuries that may be the best move for him. Sometimes you just have to admit that a player won’t work at a certain club and maybe Carroll and West Ham both have to do that.