The Newcastle striker was considered a good prospect a few years ago when Newcastle were a top Premier League side. Now, after just getting promoted back into the top flight, is Andy Carroll still considered an England prospect?
Andy Carroll was born in Gateshead on 6th January 1989. He was an impressive young footballer at school and was called into Newcastle’s youth squad in 2005. He quickly established himself in the reserve team and seemed to be a proven goal-scorer. In 2007 he was awarded with the ‘Wor Jackie Milburn Trophy’, which is given each year to the player who has looked like the most exciting prospect in the North East of England.
The young striker scored his first senior goal in a friendly against Italian giants Juventus in July that year. He then received an encouraging morale boost, when international goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon praised his performance and believed he had an exciting future ahead of him. He was then given a loan spell at Championship Preston North End, which was rather unsuccessful for Carroll, as he only managed one goal from his 11 appearances.
When he returned to Newcastle in January, he spent most of the time playing in the reserves for the rest of the season and was linked with moves to Championship clubs in the summer. He stayed with the club the next season, but did not make much of an impact, making mostly substitute appearances and managing only three goals in the Premier League. However, it would be this season that would kick-start his Newcastle career.
He has had an extremely successful year at Newcastle this season, scoring 16 goals in the league from 32 appearances and becoming a fan favourite among the St. James’ Park crowd. Some would argue that Newcastle’s relegation was actually a bonus for the young Englishman, as he was given more first team opportunities, with the likes of Obafemi Martins and Michael Owen leaving for other clubs.
His main asset this season has been his ability in the air. Many of the goals he has scored have come from his head, which is actually something that Newcastle missed last season, height up that end of the field. With this quality, he was able to be used as a target man as well as someone to flick the ball onto the second striker, who for most of this season was Shola Ameobi. So, as well as scoring many goals, he also assisted most of them, making him a key player in Newcastle’s attacking force.
When comparing him with the players in the current England squad, he has a similar mould to that of Emile Heskey or Carlton Cole. Not quite as strong as the other two, but well balanced and arguably has better ball control. The next worry for this man is whether the Newcastle coaching staff believes he is ready for first team football in the Premier League.
The Magpies would not want to make the same mistake twice and go back down immediately, especially a club so well supported and with a stadium of such great stature. So, if Newcastle do feel they need to buy, will they target strikers? Carroll will have to hope that his successful season has proved enough for them to rely on his qualities.
If we compare his career with others that are now on the verge of the England squad, there do appear to be some similarities. Bobby Zamora was originally labelled as a ‘Championship player’, but then after a move to Fulham after a poor spells with Spurs and West Ham, he has been a revelation at Craven Cottage. There is no reason why Andy Carroll could not play a similar role to that of Zamora at Newcastle next season.
The only issue Carroll has had over his career has been his discipline. The most recent being a bust-up with teammate Steven Taylor in training, where the United centre-back made a comment about a former girlfriend. Taylor ended up with a broken jaw, which added to a long list of problems involving Carroll off the pitch.
The first of his incidents happened in September 2008 where he was arrested by police for assaulting a woman; he was just 19 at the time and was just starting to establish himself as a Newcastle first team member.
Carroll was then arrested a second time in 15 months when again he was arrested for assault, but this time on a man in a club. The incident occurred in December 2009 and luckily for Carroll the injuries were not considered life-threatening, but there were head injuries which forced the man to go to hospital.
Despite all of this, Carroll has never picked up a red card during his career at Newcastle and 12 yellows. However, of those 12 yellow cards, nine of them were picked up this season, so it would appear that his discipline is not necessarily improving. He did manage to pick up his one and only red card when on his loan deal with Preston.
This may be the player’s downfall in the future, as not being able to control your emotions is something all managers will see as a negative, whether it be on or off the pitch.
So is Andy Carroll still an England prospect? There is still a chance. With the right discipline and consistent first team football, this young man is still one to look out for as the future of English football.
At the age of 21, one might imagine that he would be a contender for the next World Cup, the only problem for Carroll is that many England strikers are actually quite young themselves such as Wayne Rooney, Gabby Agbonlahor, and Carlton Cole. The Premier League may be just what Carroll needs to boost his chances.