West Ham forward Andy Carroll’s recent omission from the England squad that faced Denmark was a puzzling one. If it’s an indicator that manager Roy Hodgson isn’t going to take him to the World Cup then it’s an ominous sign, as well as a big mistake.
People may question the maturity of Carroll, who was a notorious party boy back in his Newcastle day’s – the favourite story of many is who he fell of a bar stool in a casino after consuming copious amounts of Jagermeister. However, Carroll has matured a lot since then. He’s proven he can handle the international trips before; he was as good as gold in Ukraine and Poland at Euro 2012. It seems that ex-manager Kenny Dalglish and current manager Sam Allardyce have had a cooling effect on him. So he cannot be ostracised for previous club misdemeanours when he’s never put a foot wrong for his country.
Hodgson has said all along that this World Cup will be about rebuilding the national side, so surely at 25-years-old Carroll has to be picked. If he takes Ricky Lambert, who is 32-years-old, would that not be slightly hypocritical? Carroll has the potential to be a useful England player for at least another eight-years, rather than the two that Lambert can guarantee. So if England are building for the future surely they need to blood this youngsters on the biggest stage of them all. It would be highly utopian not to take Carroll, as four years down the line when you need him in the World Cup squad you’ll have a player with no experience of playing in the upper echelons of the international game.
What’s more Carroll offers England something that no other current English forward brings. His aerial presence is by far the best of any England player in the national pool. While he shouldn’t start in Brazil, he would make an absolutely brilliant impact sub. Can you imagine the look on the face of tired defenders when they see this 6’4 beast limbering up on the side-lines in the 70th minute? They will be mortified. Carroll’s fresh legs, height and power will be able to pulverise even the hardest of centre-backs and give England a real chance.
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True Hodgson has said he will pick players on form and it cannot be denied that Lambert has had a better season than Carroll, but you have to take into consideration that Carroll has only played five league games this season. If he impresses in the last ten of the season then Hodgson should judge him on that, he needs players that are currently in form not players that have been in form.
Slightly more trivial but just as important, Carroll is a good member to have in your camp. Like fellow Geordie Paul Gascoigne, he’s well-liked by the players and he would be good for the overall morale of the squad. It’s simple science that a happy squad is more successful than a squad that’s in turmoil; you need look no further than the disastrous French side at the 2010 World Cup.
Andy Carroll has to be on that plane for Rio come June.