So what’s the deal with the articles over Andy Carroll? I’ve seen an awful lot of press recently stating that his ‘honeymoon’ period is over, massive price tag this and that, and he needs to start firing now. I really think that this is a sensationally one eyed view of the whole situation.
Looking at the bare facts. Carroll at Newcastle was a hero. Why? Big, strong, old fashioned number nine. Scored goals, played for England. Everything the Geordies love. They were gutted that he left. The St James’ Park faithful may well be living in the past at times, but they love strikers, especially the number nines, MacDonald, Shearer, Carroll (briefly). Big Andy scored goals; more than one in three which is a decent enough return in a mid table side. He’s played and scored for England, (even if the opposition was Ghana).
When Kenny and FSG shelled out a record fee for an Englishman to bring the Toon hero to Anfield, it brought with it all the pressure a young man does not need (Carroll is still only 22). But I never really understand why. Carroll didn’t set his fee, inadvertedly it was Roman Abramovich who set the fee, paying out £50 million for Torres so late in the transfer window. The Anfield hierarchy recognised that Kuyt, Ngog and new signing Suarez couldn’t lead the line alone, Carroll fitted the bill and style Kenny was after perfectly. Newcastle didn’t want to sell him hence the massively inflated fee.
Carroll, much like the maligned Alberto Aqualani signed injured. Never a good sign, but Kenny always stated he signed Carroll for five years, not five games and nursed him into the side, where in my opinion he got better, stronger and more dangerous as he got fitter. Man City will testify to this. The season finished too soon for him, (and the club as Spurs and Villa aside we were on a roll), joining a bigger club will always be daunting, but trying to impress a knowledgeable audience when you know you cannot play the way you want to, is harder still. A full pre season with your new club is essential, (hopefully Aqualani will reap the benefits if he stays also).
To get on Carroll’s back after one game this season, saying he must produce immediately, frankly is absolutely insane. But for a pathetic attempt at a challenge from Anton Ferdinand, who quite clearly was hit by a sniper, denied Andy and the reds a flying start. We had a virtually new team out against Sunderland. Agger hardly played last term, Flanno is still settling and learning his trade, Henderson, Adam and Downing all making debuts whilst Lucas and Suarez have been at the Copa America all summer. Even Enrique who knows Carroll well, (but not since January) only had one training session before the game. Two or three new faces can be hard to integrate, but some of these players would have been virtual strangers at the start of the week.