There was the huge Geordie lad being twisted, prodded, poked and grabbed…there were shades of WWF at times, as his physio mentor put him through his paces in front of the cameras. I thought this is all very well, but what about some PROPER physical exertion?
My prayers were answered as AC jogged, did some light sprints, and then kicked a ball into the goal (both feet) without so much as a grimace, wince or look of concern. So far so good!!
The level of expectation on this guys shoulders will be greater than anything he has ever experienced at previous clubs. Neither Newcastle United nor Liverpool had set Carroll up as their saviour. Sure the fee for his Anfield arrival was crazy, we all knew that, but there were others in that team (Luis Suarez, Dirk Kuyt, Steven Gerrard) who were capable goalscorers, and Andy Carroll was going to be just one more (expensive) name to go on the scoresheet for the Reds.
When Andy does step onto Upton Park for the first time, there will be two main things to occupy his mind; how will his repaired foot fare in the heat of Premier League battle, and is there any way he can re-pay all the trust and hope invested in him by a packed and expectant stadium, and by thousands around East London and the home counties.
I think it reasonable to state that for many, a fit and firing Andy Carroll may well mean the difference between a relegation scrap (we are in one by the way, lets not bury our heads in the sand) and a life of (relative) bliss, lazing casually and smugly in mid-table whilst other former strugglers try and fight there way out of the bear pit.
So how will it pass that West Ham United commence the slow and jittery climb from the cold, damp, un-welcoming basement to the sunlit, roof-top garden where the wealthy mingle and preen? A fit, potent and well-fed Andy Carroll is key, and by well fed, I don’t mean kebabs at 2.30 in the morning after a night on the razzle. The suppliers will need to be Messrs’ Stewart Downing and Matt Jarvis, two of the most generous providers of centre-forward ball in the Premier League. These two must have felt almost cheated the number of times they have delivered into an empty box, courtesy of Big Sam’s ‘no forwards today’ plan!
Wingers and big centre forwards are like…well egg & bacon, Morecambe & Wise…one just doesn’t flourish without the other (except Suarez, granted). We all know that AC will find the net with his head for the most part, so crosses by the barrow load are an absolute must.
In addition, players supporting in and around the box looking for knockdowns and scraps is a big part of the plan. The big fella will take the flack and make the space; it’s up to the others to reap the rewards.
If the boy stays fit, then there is no doubt he can play. Whether he can shoulder most of the responsibility for staving off a relegation fight is to be seen. All we can hope for is a steady supply. Andy C will do the rest…trust me (fingers are crossed and I’m touching wood…lots of it!!).