Andy Carroll: 5 Reasons Why It Is Crunch Time in His Liverpool Career
Andy Carroll has been in the headlines all summer long, for good and not-so-good reasons, and as he joins up with the Liverpool first team for preseason training, it seems he is facing a make-or-break week.
After a fine ending to last season when he scored key goals and turned in a man-of-the-match FA Cup final performance for his team, Carroll went on to enjoy some success for England in Euro 2012, where he scored and put in a good performance in his only start of the tournament.
Since Liverpool appointed Brendan Rodgers as manager, however, his future has been the source of constant speculation.
Here are five reasons why Andy Carroll has a key week ahead of him in his Liverpool career.
Preseason Friendlies: A.S. Roma and Tottenham Hotspur
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One down, two to go; Liverpool got their preseason tour of North America started on Saturday with a 1-1 draw against Toronto.
Andy Carroll—along with the other England Euro 2012 players—did not feature in the match, as he was not due to fly over to the States until this week.
With two more friendly matches in the coming five days, first against AS Roma and then fellow Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, Carroll should still be around to get his chance under Brendan Rodgers.
Performances in these games—good or indifferent—won't likely be the breaking or making of Carroll in a Reds shirt, but a good attitude in them will at least help to make his case if he is intent on staying.
Training Attitude the Only Place to Impress Manager
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So far, most chatter purporting to be from Andy Carroll's corner has revolved around his desire and inclination to stay at Liverpool.
If that is true, there is only one real place where he can show new manager Brendan Rodgers that he means to do everything possible to stay at the club, and that is on the training pitch.
Not just in terms of application and attitude, although those will arguably be the most important attributes to consider, but also in his technical ability and intelligence to show Rodgers that he can play a part in the new-look team.
In every aspect, though, Carroll will be expected to work extremely hard.
Face-to-Face Meeting with Brendan Rodgers
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Strange as it may be, Andy Carroll appears to be the one high-profile player whom Brendan Rodgers has his mind made up about: The striker will not fit his plans and needs to be shipped out.
It seems that while the manager is keen to praise the likes of Lucas for his hard work and commitment, a slightly different outlook is taken on Carroll, who he has refused to confirm will be part of his long-term plans.
On one hand, it is understandable that Rodgers wants to get to work shaping his team as quickly as possible—including transfers in and out—but on the other hand, perhaps waiting until he had seen Carroll in action up close in training might not be a bad idea.
Either way, the first meeting of the two in America will take place on Tuesday when the striker returns to training, and it could be then that the future of the forward is decided.
Waiting on a 'Proper' Offer from Newcastle United...or Fulham...or...
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For all the supposed interest and rumours about Carroll not being wanted by Rodgers, there will be no movement at all for the big striker if Liverpool do not receive a transfer bid they are happy with.
Carroll has been linked with former club Newcastle United, who were said to have offered a loan move for him which Liverpool rejected, but other clubs such as Fulham and AC Milan have also been mentioned.
Brendan Rodgers is obviously open to offers, though. He stated, via The Guardian:
But his [Andy Carroll's] condition will be the same as every player. If an offer comes in for any player at the club we would either look at it, or dismiss it, and Andy's no different to that.
Whether "every player" includes the likes of Luis Suarez is up for debate.
Arrival of Fabio Borini and New Liverpool Formation
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A final challenge to overcome presents itself to Andy Carroll: a change in tactics and system for the Reds.
Just as it looked as though he was getting back to some kind of form for Liverpool, the team changes manager, lineup and philosophy, and Carroll must fit himself in all over again if he wants to stay at the club.
For a £35 million signing there is only one possibility if he stays: He has to play and make a big impact.
Other than that, he'll be gone in short order.
Pressing, passing, penetration and patience are all key attributes and approaches to the game that players under Brendan Rodgers will need.
Carroll, perhaps, needs work in all four to some extent, but that is far from saying he is the worst-fit player at the club for the new 4-3-3 system or that he still cannot be a fine player for the club.
But he has to work his way into Rodgers' thinking and then show he is the No. 1 forward in a squad which has just added Fabio Borini to its ranks and will likely see further additions before the close of the transfer window.
A telling week is ahead for Carroll and Liverpool both.