Andy Carroll scored his first goal for England (in the senior side) in the 1-1 friendly against Ghana at Wembley on Tuesday.
Before the game, his Three Lions manager said the 22-year-old needed to improve his behavior and not drink so much. Fabio Capello had a private meeting with his No. 9 before the match against Ghana to discuss his behavior and the responsibility that comes with an England call-up.
Side note: When did he first have that conversation with John Terry? Or Ashley Cole? Or Wayne Rooney? Or…for goodness’s sake, pretty much the whole team has issues.
Including Carroll of course, who pleaded guilty to assault charges last year and has had his share of long nights.
Anyway, Carroll’s new club manager, Kenny Dalglish, said he thinks his striker’s focus is right where it needs to be: on football.
Dalglish praised the big man’s fantastic strike against Ghana and says it came from his hard work while recuperating from a thigh strain. He knows his striker likes to have his fun, but he also knows he’s not having too much.
Think about that for a second Fabio. Football is still game.
However, Capello may have had ulterior motives here. He’s using Carroll as a way to send out a message to his team, especially the young ones.
It’s no secret that Capello is a disciplinarian, but his current charges have not exactly played by the rules.
Many of England’s senior players have been embarrassed in the tabloids in the last year because of infidelity, drinking, and whatever it was Cole was doing with an air rifle in the Chelsea locker room.
And after the utter failure that was the 2010 World Cup, Capello wants to turn a new page with the 2012 European Championships, and he’s got plenty of young English players to do it with. And Carroll, being the prototype of what any football manager wants as his No. 9, can be a big part of that.
Terry along with Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Rooney and more were seen as England’s golden generation. Football’s birth nation that had only tasted World Cup glory once would surely win it with these guys.
But the Three Lions went out meekly in the quarterfinals in 2006. Then, they were to be a wiser, but not too much older group four years later. Couple this with being handed an easy group and 2010 was supposed to be their time.
It’s safe to say, England’s golden generation has failed to live up to expectations.
In his last two years as England manager (at least on contract), Capello needs to make sure his young up-and-comers (Carroll, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Joe Hart) actually reach their potential in international football unlike their predecessors. And so he needs to make sure his team isn’t more popular for their off-field antics than their accomplishments on it.
From now on, Capello needs to keep his charges on the back pages, not the front.