When he first arrived at the Boleyn Ground on the back of a club record transfer fee for the Hammers back in the summer of 2013, Andy Carroll was largely expected to propel West Ham up the league table as the undisputed focal point of Big Sam Allardyce’s attack.
As a string of frustrating long-term injury concerns have nonetheless stood in Carroll’s way since he initially introduced himself in front of the Upton Park faithful however, life in the famed East End of London has invariably proven far more difficult for the former Newcastle United striker.
Yet because the 27-year-old Gateshead-born front-man now seems to be enjoying a successful run in Slaven Bilic’s first team plans with the Hammers at the minute, perhaps the good times have just about returned for the player who notoriously cost Liverpool £35million just a handful of short seasons ago.
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So then, is it only a matter of time before Andy Carroll seemingly drops off the boil once again, or are the West Ham fans now finally starting to see the best out of their club’s marquee centre-forward?
Well, although the former England international may not quite represent everyone’s preferred cup of tea when everything is said and done, no one can discredit Carroll’s efficiency inside the final third when things are admittedly going well for the player in question.
Since the 27-year-old striker has enjoyed a decent run in the team for the Hammers this season, the towering centre-forward has undoubtedly looked a great deal leaner out on the pitch, he seems less likely to break down now that the long balls aren’t constantly being pumped up to him under Slaven Bilic – and although anything could easily still happen for Andy Carroll throughout the remainder of the 2015/16 campaign – maybe the tide really is beginning to turn for the often luckless front-man this season.
With the likes of Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini dictating the play for Slaven Bilic’s outfit in 2015/16, Carroll no longer represents West Ham’s obvious route of attack down at Upton Park. The ex-Newcastle and Liverpool forward can in-fact operate away from the spot-light for a change this season – which is something he arguably hasn’t experienced a great deal of since first bursting onto the scene at St. James’ all those years ago.
Now that Bilic isn’t constantly relying on Carroll to provide the knock-downs for his fellow attacking colleagues out on the field for West Ham, the powerful no-nonsense striker can begin to think about getting on the end of finishing moves more often than not, as opposed to finding himself playing exclusively with back to goal for the majority of the 90 minutes as he did under Sam Allardyce.
Of course, Andy Carroll has just about re-established himself as a first team regular at Upton Park in light of Diafra Sakho’s own injury set-back earlier on in the campaign – but as the front-man now has two in two for the Hammers after shaking off a potentially worrying groin concern a few weeks back – the immediate future looks rather promising for the big man.
The recently expanded Hammers squad not only serves to ease the burden on Carroll’s shoulders as he goes about his business in front of the Boleyn Ground faithful, but his newly established teammates also allow him to continue getting in strong positions that arguably weren’t possible for the striker in seasons past at West Ham.
Yes, the 27-year-old will never likely stay completely free of injury – and who knows, maybe another long-term complaint is simply waiting round the corner for Carroll right in the here and now – yet as things currently stand for the powerful Englishman, there is no reason to suggest that Andy Carroll won’t push on further throughout the rest of the current campaign.
And if he’s particularly lucky come the final culmination of the 2015/16 season, maybe a sly Euro 2016 call-up could be on the cards for Carroll if circumstances allow this summer.