If Bruce’s latest comments are anything to go by, it sounds like Andy Carroll’s goal against Leicester and cameo performance has got him back in contention.
The NUFC boss has been taking him up ahead of tonight’s FA Cup clash with Arsenal, also hinting that he could rekindle the big man’s partnership with Callum Wilson – something we’ve not seen since we were hammered by Brighton in our opening home game of the season!
Here’s what Bruce has had to say:
“We’ve played him up there only a couple of times with Callum Wilson so yeah it is something to think about.
“It’s something to work on.
“He wants to play every game.
“The good thing now is he’s obviously fit and raring to go.”
Actually, I’d like to play every game and I’ve been fit all season and raring to go, so can I have a game please Steve?
Joking aside, what have we got to lose, and before I answer my own question, I’ll say this. I did not think Carroll deserved a contract extension and until last Sunday think I’d been proved right.
I would not have been concerned in the slightest if he had been let go even if it were to a relegation rival. Yes, that refers to that West Brom link that appears to have no substance based on the reaction from Big Sam and a host of local reporters.
I think his status of being a “Big Geordie” is what has kept him at the Club. That said I do think he cares passionately about the Club and there’s no doubting he’s as much a fan as a player. He is a Geordie through and through and his reaction after Sunday’s loss despite scoring says a lot about his character and feelings for NUFC.
So perhaps he does deserve a final chance at being the Andy Carroll of 2010. He and Wilson started in that 0-2 win at West Ham on opening day and our first home game of the season vs Brighton…although the latter was a disaster when we were left short in midfield and lost 0-3!
He largely disappeared after that with only a dreadful performance against the mighty Newport County to show for his efforts. It appeared that age and injuries had finally caught up with him. But perhaps his “Lazarus” impression has got one final hurrah in it.
Personally, I think we would need to dominate the game, be better in midfield, get higher up the pitch and create much more chances than we do to make it work having them two up top against Arsenal.
Carroll to me feels like a luxury now as he can’t press, can’t play on the counter, which is what people keep telling us we’re good at, and can’t win a header THEN get himself up with play and in the box. I think he’s an impact sub at best, and even then, despite Bruce’s words, only when it’s desperate.
We have to completely change the style when he’s on the pitch whether by choice or sub-conscious we immediately start hitting it long and high towards him.
Mind you, Arsenal are a soft touch in the centre of defence with very few big players. So maybe it’s worth trying this weekend along with perhaps a few other changes just to shake the whole thing up and see what transpires.