Euro 2012: Is Andy Carroll England's Main Striker This Summer?

Michael DoyleContributor IIIMay 29, 2012

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 24:  Andy Carroll during an England training session at Etihad Stadium on May 24, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Earlier today, Sky Sports reported that the final England squad is departing for Eastern Europe for the start of Euro 2012 in just under two weeks time. 

There were no significant or unexpected changes to the side, but what was interesting was the choice of squad numbers given to certain players, including Andy Carroll, who was given England's No. 9 uniform, which tends to be reserved for the team's main striker. 

Having impressed towards the end of last season at Liverpool following a relatively disappointing start to his career there, Carroll put in some top performances and scored key goals in the FA Cup and Premier League to earn his place in Roy Hodgson's England squad. 

With Wayne Rooney suspended for England's first two group games and Hodgson making the decision of taking just four strikers to Ukraine, Carroll is sure to play a part in the first two games of the group stage against France and Sweden.

He became the most expensive British player ever when he was brought to Liverpool for £35 million from Newcastle in January 2011. 

Carroll's height and strength make him a physical presence for any team. Being just 23-years-old, he clearly has the potential to be a quality traditional centre-forward.

But he hasn't met this potential or proved that he is worth the hefty price Liverpool paid for him a year and a half ago and only has four international caps for England. 

The suspension of Rooney, as well as an injury to Danny Welbeck, mean that Carroll and Jermain Defoe are the only fully fit strikers who can play against France on June 11th. You'd expect either a 4-4-2 to be played—or maybe a form of 4-5-1, with Carroll holding up play and spreading the ball out wide in either formation.

Carroll can be a target man for England's wingers. With Theo Walcott, Ashley Young and Stewart Downing providing options out wide, delivery shouldn't be a problem, and Carroll should get some scoring opportunities—more so, at least, than he did at Liverpool. 

If Carroll does meet his potential in the summer, his presence could cause smaller defences problems. If he plays as well as he did towards the end of the season for Liverpool, missing Rooney for the first two games may not be as bad as initially thought.