Newcastle United's Andy Carroll: A Future England No. 9?

Paul ReeceContributor IINovember 12, 2010

Carroll doing what he does best
Carroll doing what he does bestMatthew Lewis/Getty Images

At 21 years of age, Andy Carroll has been given one of the biggest shirts in English if not World football when Chris Hughton handed him the prestigious Newcastle no.9.

A shirt steeped in history worn by greats such as Alan Shearer, Malcolm "Super Mac" MacDonald and Jackie Milburn among countless others.

Some questioned if the Gateshead born life-long Newcastle fan would be able to cope with the pressure and demands the shirt would bring.

But here we are 11 games into the season, and Carroll sits as the leading English forward in the Premier League with seven goals.

Attracting praise from Arsene Wenger who described him being full of charisma and intelligence he has surely been the player who has most profited from United relegation.

Playing a bit part role as United limped out of the Premier League Chris Hughton molded him into a deadly forward in the championship.

And big Andy had repaid the faith of Hughton with sum magnificent performances so far this season, but it is off the field which leaves many unanswered questions.

Much like teammate Joey Barton, Carroll seems to attract trouble on a regular basis. I have never seen one player make so many headlines for the wrong reasons in his first full year as a first team regular.

His form and talent has been able to compensate these off field problems so far, but the football association (The FA) and England will not turn a blind eye to his antics forever.

Carroll's work rate, effort and determination on the pitch has earned him a call up; he is perhaps what England needs and has lost recently: a good old fashion English center forward.

Someone who can support a Wayne Rooney or Jermaine Defoe, is good with the ball and not scared to put his head where it might be hurt.

Kevin Davies deserved his call up last month; he is a player I admire, and I would have loved to see United see him earlier in his career.

At 33 though, he is not the future of English football; Carroll and the likes of Jack Wilshere are the ones who could set 2012 a light.

Carroll's behavior will almost certainly be under scrutiny when he links up with England for the first time, but with the exception of the Steven Taylor incident, his behavior on and around the training ground has never been a real issue.

England has been crying out for a player in the mold of Andy Carroll now for a long time; it's up to him if he takes this opportunity or lets it pass.