Andy Carroll seems to think he’s the answer to our prayers this weekend. You have to admire his optimism.
Sadly, it’s been evident for too long now that he’s simply not up to it – even if he is desperate to prove he is on Sunday against former boss big Sam.
Speaking to NUFC TV, he had this to say – urging an under-fire Steve Bruce to give him a shot in the absence of Wilson, Almiron and Saint-Maximin:
“I’ve been waiting.
“I’d like to say I can see myself in the starting line-up at the weekend, but it’s the gaffer’s choice at the end of the day.
“I’ve been working hard, I’m fit and if it comes I’m hopefully going to take it and get on the scoresheet and get us a win.”
Would you pick him? Have we any alternative than to roll the dice one more time in his favour?
When he left The Toon for Liverpool all those years ago I was devastated. At the time I thought he was the best young English striker in the game. I assume that’s what Liverpool thought as well when they signed him on deadline day back in February 2011 along with Luis Suarez.
When it was mooted that he was going to return I was all for it. A free agent, one-year deal and pay as you play contract felt like a gamble worth taking at the time.
Sadly, it hasn’t worked out and I was totally against giving him an extension last summer. Again, hindsight, but I think I’ve been proved right as he’s given us nothing to hang our hats on this time around. If anything he’s been worse than he was last season.
I say that with a heavy heart as we all want a Geordie to succeed and especially a Centre Forward. But for me – and I would love it, love it, if I were proven wrong – he’s not going to be the answer I’m afraid.
He just looks so leggy and stiff it’s untrue. I’d love for him to come in and guide us to safety, but it’s been clear for a long time he’s way past it and no longer dominant in the air or a goal threat. He can barely get off the ground and just looks clumsy and outdated.
He’s started in a front two three times this season. We lost all three, failed to score in any of them and he had just one shot on target across those games (2-0 v Villa, 3-0 v Arsenal and 3-0 v Brighton)…and don’t get me started on his performance against Newport.
The Joelinton bashers would probably rather have Carroll in the side. Again, in my opinion, I wouldn’t. Big Joe is not the answer either by some distance but I still believe he offers more and is more worthy of a place than Carroll. He’s not a striker or a £40m player but he’s still better.
Dwight Gayle is another matter. He would be my first choice as one to go into the team. He offers a goal threat and certainly knows where the goals are at WBA! There will be some that argue you could even play him with Carroll in a big man, little man combination.
That might be worth a thought, but in reality that would mean a total rethink and change of style in what would be our biggest game of the season – almost a panic notion I’d rather avoid.
I’d love to see Andy Carroll have one last big moment to save his boyhood club in Sunday’s must win match, but it feels like flogging a dead horse based on what we’ve seen over the past 18 months, sadly.