For many top flight clubs, having an expensive striker at your disposal sitting on the bench isn’t unusual. Just look at the likes of Radamel Falcao and Stefan Jovetic, who are struggling to hold down a starting spot at Manchester United and Manchester City respectively, despite a hefty price tag to both strikers’ names. Very rarely do you see a mid-table side with a £15m price tag on his head, ready to come on for the last 15-20 minutes of the match to make a difference. Playing the whole 90 minutes is exactly what everyone expects.
In this case, West Ham’s Andy Carroll finds himself in exactly the same situation. Costing a mind blowing £15m, in a poll conducted by BBC Sport, Carroll was voted the worst signing in Premier League history when he moved from Liverpool to the Hammers. After failing to impress on Merseyside, surprisingly Carroll now finds himself struggling to get in the starting line up at Upton Park. It’s well known that manager Sam Allardyce is a huge fan of the striker, as Big Sam always likes to set up his teams with a quality target man in his starting XI, and Carroll fits the bill perfectly.
Granted, had it not been for the former Newcastle United’s torrid injury record, then it’s certain Carroll will be playing week in, week out. Now back after a six month lay off with an ankle injury he suffered during pre-season, another obstacle is in place for Carroll to climb. The form of new signings Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho has surprisingly been excellent, as both them of them are offering something different to a changed West Ham side. The sharpness and work rate of Valencia, and incredible goal scoring ability of Sakho is hard to watch for Carroll, considering he was a regular starter for the England squad just two years ago. With Argentine, Mauro Zarate at the club aswell, showing signs of his class in spells of games, Carroll’s minutes on the pitch look to have been limited. Using Carroll as a impact substitution looks more realistic.
In the recent 0-0 stalemate against Aston Villa, the striker showed how much of an impact he can make in a short space of time. After a lengthy spell in the treatment room, Carroll caused problems to the Villa defence, and had two glorious opportunities to grab a late winner in just the five minutes he was on for. Carroll also got engaged to his girlfriend last week. You may think that this might be ridiculous and pointless to mention, but this could improve his game massively. Carroll has always been known to enjoy himself off the pitch. Get hitched will make him more mature, and more focused on how he can improve as a player. This is why a lot of managers like their players to get married.
Using Carroll in the last 15 minutes of games could prove to be vital, and selling him would be a big mistake. As so called ‘second strikers’ go to use a a ‘Plan B’, Carroll is probably one of the best in the league in doing so.