Time is running out for Big Andy but it could’ve been so different

Injuries have cursed Carroll's time at West Ham and now it's time we moved on

In an era where footballers transfer fees are astronomically high, the fact Andy Carroll’s house is worth double the value of the big Geordie striker rather sums up where his career is heading. Indeed, the former Liverpool and Newcastle man’s house appeared on Right Move – other estate agents are available – days after speculation linked the Hammers number nine with a move away from Stratford to Wembley following Tottenham’s Harry Kane picking up yet another knock.

There are also whispers that Carroll may fancy a trip to the US – either way it all points to the inevitable end to his injury-plagued Hammers career. It was a career that started so promisingly following a loan move from Liverpool to link up with his old partner in crime Kevin Nolan.

The plan was simple; Knock up to the big man and Nolan would invariably pick up the scraps and fire home. It was a Big Sam Allardici masterstroke. To Carroll’s credit he managed to stay relatively injury-free in his first season at the club and scored some real beauties.

I remember a volley over his shoulder into the bottom corner against West Brom in particular, a real peach. He had well and truly won over the claret and blue faithful, and he had them singing ‘Andy Carroll, we want you to stay’ during the final game of his loan spell.

Sure enough, the big man returned on a permanent deal, and suffice to say, it hasn’t quite worked out how the Irons had envisaged it. He has, at times, been vitally important. He scored some crucial goals in that memorable Farewell Boleyn season including trademark back-post headers against Chelsea and Liverpool to name but two, and of course that famous hat-trick in the ding-dong 3-3 draw with Arsenal.

But these days around the London Stadium, Carroll is very much like Marmite, you either love the big man or you hate him. He will inevitably be cheered onto the field of play, possibly because everyone is a little in shock that he is actually fit and available.

West Ham fans are easy to please. Work hard and show passion and you’ll get supported, and to his credit you will get plenty of effort from him, maybe at times it has been to his detriment. His bust-a-gut attitude has more than likely led to an injury or two during his time in the east end.

What gets on the Hammers faithful nerves, however, is his perceived party lifestyle. Carroll was quick to jump to his own defence in a recent interview in the Daily Mail, stating that fans would openly throw jokes at him in the public and how he has now settled down as a family man. But he would invariably appear on social media with a pint in his hand at midnight whilst being out injured – it’s enough to drive any football fan crazy.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand footballers are human too, but surely, if you are as injury-prone as Andy Carroll is, you’d begin to listen to the sports scientist guys and maybe cut the toxins out your diet. Now, with the big Geordie entering the final stages of his West Ham career, he is plying his trade under a manager who believes in his side playing the ball on the floor and quickly.

Two traits that sadly do not play to Andy’s strong points. I will argue until I am blue in the face that there isn’t a striker in the Premier League better than Andy Carroll at what he does. He can on his day – sadly those days are few and far between – absolutely destroy a defender, and be an absolute nightmare.

But for him to have those matches you need to commit to playing his style, regularly cross into the box, and players ready to pounce and pick up on his flick-on headers. Manuel Pellegrini doesn’t buy into that style of play though, and that is the reason that he hasn’t really been given much a sniff.

It’s only been recently when injuries have hit and Marko Arnautovic has had his little strop, that he’s had more time on the pitch. Carroll simply doesn’t work in a Pellegrini side, and that is ultimately why he will not, in my opinion, be a West Ham United player next season.

Carroll will find a club. There is no doubt in my mind about that. He is a handful and with the right manager and the right club, he could do very well. But it is the old adage, if Andy Carroll can stay fit, he would be an asset for any team, including West Ham, but as a club we must bite the bullet and grab this opportunity to get his huge wages off the structure.

You can also bet your bottom dollar that Spurs were never interested in him in the slightest. After all it was a painfully dull transfer window and any rumour was leapt upon with excitement by the media. I am sure, every West Ham fan will wish Carroll well – after all his goal against Palace a couple of seasons ago at the London Stadium was the first real ‘moment’ that the bowl had. Go well big lad.

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