Until Andy Carroll destroyed West Bromwich Albion with a trademark header and thumping volley, it would be fair to say West Ham United had yet to see what he was really capable of. In what has been a season interrupted by injury, he had managed only three goals since his season-long loan move from Liverpool.
However, his performance yesterday showed the very best side of Andy Carroll. When he plays like that, he is unquestionably one of the most dangerous centre-forwards—both in England and Europe.
He was left out of the previous England squad by Roy Hodgson, but he would have been the perfect player to throw on in the second half when England were under the cosh against Montenegro. He can hold the ball up and take the pressure off the defence.
If he can maintain that form until the end of the season, there will be a number of clubs with something to think about. Carroll will also need to wisely consider his next career move. Since his move from Newcastle, his career hasn't quite continued on the upward trend that it had previously been on.
A frustrating season at Liverpool with highs and lows led to him being shipped out of town when Brendan Rodgers was installed as manager. Personally, I felt that this was an unwise move on the part of Liverpool. Carroll offers a different option from Luis Suarez and a more direct style of play when chasing a game.
The signing of Daniel Sturridge in January suggests that Rodgers is unlikely to welcome back the big centre-forward with open arms.
Liverpool will be forced to accept that they will have to sell him at a fraction of the £35 million they paid for him. I would speculate this current market value would flit between the £10 and £15 million mark.
So where will Carroll end up? West Ham and Sam Allardyce would remain keen on the striker, but may not have the funds necessary to complete the deal.
A move back to Newcastle would be the other likely option. Newcastle have played a more direct game this season and could have benefited from a player such as Carroll to lead the line and offer support to Papiss Cisse, who has endured a difficult second season in England.
I think Carroll would benefit from a move abroad. He would be ideally suited to the Italian league and would benefit from the different lifestyle.
One thing is certain: If he carries on performing the way he did against West Brom, he won't be short of options. I just hope that he makes the right decision for his long-term career.
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