England Euro 2012 Squad: Four Reasons Andy Carroll's Inclusion Is Right Decision
Carroll will be taking his seat on the plane to Poland and Ukraine alongside fellow strikers Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Jermain Defoe.
Naturally some people will agree with this decision, and others will not.
However, here are four reasons why the big Geordie's inclusion was one of the things new England manager Roy Hodgson got right with his first and arguably most important squad.
It remains to be seen what style of football Roy Hodgson will look to play at this summer's tournament, but one thing is for sure: At some point, England will need to play very direct football.
If and when England come up against a technically superior team who are likely to dominate possession, or when they need a goal to save a match, the long-ball game is going to come into play.
With that in mind, Andy Carroll is the ideal man for England to have on the field. He might not be starting, but coming off the bench with 15 minutes to go, the big Geordie has the height to pose a serious aerial threat and the close control to hold onto the ball and get into a shooting position if more than a headed shot is required.
Recent Good Form
Andy Carroll has had a shocking season, a fact well publicised by the British media. However, in recent times his performances have been far more encouraging.
He scored a vital goal in the FA Cup semifinal, sending his team into their second cup final of the season. He also scored in the final before being unlucky not to be awarded another goal for a shot that may or may not have crossed the line.
It was Carroll's introduction in the final that sparked a remarkable turnaround in the quality of Liverpool's football. After being dominated for much of the first hour, they turned things around and were firmly on top for the final third of a thrilling final.
He also gave John Terry a torrid time in Liverpool's rematch with Chelsea the following week.
A couple of goals and good performances is not enough, on its own, to justify a place in England's Euro 2012 squad, but it does suggest that the former Newcastle United striker can handle the pressure of playing in good games and also shows that he is not completely out of sorts heading into the tournament.
The Other Options
When you look at the other striking options for England's Euro 2012 squad, the inclusion of Andy Carroll seems to be far from a bad call.
Peter Crouch, Grant Holt and Bobby Zamora were, likely, the people competing with Andy Carroll for one of the slots for strikers in England's squad and, to be honest, they all make you glad that Carroll will be with the England squad in Eastern Europe.
Crouch is a proven goal scorer at the international level; he has 22 goals in 42 England appearances. However, only one of those goals has come in a major tournament, and that was against Trinidad & Tobago. Furthermore, he has rarely performed against top teams; most of his goals have come against lesser sides, and many of them in friendlies.
Grant Holt has been impressive for Norwich this season, but he has not been doing anything that, with the same team behind him, Andy Carroll wouldn't be doing and hasn't done with Newcastle.
Bobby Zamora has managed seven goals this Premier League season—hardly England form. He lacks any real experience at the international level and is 31 years old.
Of the three men capable of playing the target man role, Andy Carroll seems like the best bet. He plays regularly with Steven Gerrard, one of the key suppliers, is a potential long-term option for England, given his age, and he possesses good close control and aerial ability.
Little to Lose
England are not going to win Euro 2012. Sorry, but it's true. It would take a Greece 2004 effort for England to overcome the likes of Spain, Germany and The Netherlands whilst also not slipping up against the teams England assume they'll beat yet inevitably slip up against.
So, England have relatively little to lose. Getting past the group stage, largely without the help of Wayne Rooney, and entirely without the help of the various injured players England will be missing, would be a good result.
Andy Carroll, along with the likes of Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, are heading to Poland and Ukraine with a chance to play in a major international tournament without the usual expectations the English public provide because, for once, England fans aren't expecting to win.
It makes more sense to take a risk on Andy Carroll, who may or may not fire, than to pick someone who will probably do a decent job, but will never be a major star.
Andy Carroll is worth the risk considering that the potential pay-off is a striker who could complement, Wayne Rooney for the next few years. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out and Roy Hodgson can look to some of the other young strikers waiting in the wings who haven't made the cut this time around.
The worst-case scenario is that England find in Andy Carroll the next Peter Crouch, a player who has done an important job for England down the years.
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