Chris Hughton hails hot-shot striker Andy Carroll

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Newcastle boss Chris Hughton hailed the improvement Andy Carroll made to his game in a season out of the Premier League after the young striker bagged a hat-trick during Sunday's rout of Aston Villa.

The Magpies dished out a 6-0 St James' Park thrashing, with Carroll scoring a hat-trick after the visitors had missed an early penalty kick through John Carew.

Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan (2) were also on the mark for the rampant home side.

Carroll scored 17 goals in the Championship last season and shone on his first home appearance since being handed the club's iconic number nine shirt.

"What he has done is work hard to develop his game, but we all know and certainly centre-forwards will know it is about scoring goals," explained Hughton.

"He was able to do that last season. It was something we asked of him, could he add goals to his game, and in the lesser division, he was able to do that.

"Now the challenge for him is to do it in this division.

"There are areas of his game he can improve. How far he can go, that will be up to the environment he is in and the individual himself, but he has the attributes to improve even more.

"For those who have been in the game for quite some time, he is very much a throw-back. He can be prolific in the air – he is certainly a handful for most defenders he plays against.

"But as all good and great goalscorers will tell you, it's not only about a contribution for the team, but they would see it more so as putting the ball in the back of the net and ultimately, he will be judged on that."

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