With the transformation from bad boy to boy wonder that Newcastle’s Andy Carroll has undergone this season, is the powerhouse forward ready to take his sparking form onto the international scene. The mercurial frontman has filled the prestigious number 9 (formally worn by Milburn, MacDonald, Cole and most famously Alan Shearer) brilliantly considering his constant antics on the front pages of our tabloids.
Carroll, 21, is Newcastle through and through and despite all the adverse attention he has received off the pitch, on it he is endearing himself to the Magpies faithful with his brand of no-nonsense forward play. He has also started to receive rave reviews by opposing managers up and down the country the latest of which Arsene Wenger thinks his presence, charisma and intelligence on the ball make him the stand out choice for England.
Carroll’s talent has never been in question and the coaching staff at Newcastle have been aware of this for sometime. It has always been an issue of channelling his raw aggression and power into a constructive striking force, which current Geordie boss Chris Hughton seems to have got spot on this season. His 7 goals in 12 games suggest he is starting to fulfil their expectations.
Who is Carroll up against for a place in England’s starting 11 and how does he match up to them? In reality if Wayne Rooney is fit he will always occupy a starting berth for his country as he is one of only a handful of World Class players we have. So Carroll will be fighting for a place alongside the Man United frontman.
Jermain Defoe would be in most England supporter’s side as he has a proven track record in the games he has played in the senior side. A consistent goalscorer where ever he has played the Spurs frontman has the ability to get in behind defenders and work the channels whilst offering a deadly finish to any chances in and around the box. He unfortunately lacks in physical presence which means that Defoe has spent much of his international career watching from the sides as a more powerfully built targetman plays alongside Rooney.
Darren Bent is another who has found his opportunities limited as managers have opted for targetmen, in fairness though when Bent has been given the international nod he has hasn’t exactly set the world alight. Unlike in domestic football, where he carries Sunderland on his shoulders through the Premiership season after season.
Peter Crouch on the other hand does have the international pedigree to warrant a starting berth and his games to goals tally (just over 1 goal every 2 games) is amongst the best in the business but, he for some strange reason has never been a real manager ‘favourite’ and commanded the same prestige as his more illustrious team-mates.
Kevin Davies is probably the nearest thing to Carroll already in the squad. A regular thorn for Premiership defences for years the powerfully built forward was rather belatedly given a chance in England’s last game against Montenegro albeit a 20 minute cameo at the end of a dour draw. He will be hoping to push on from this and on current form for Bolton who could argue against him.
Whether Carroll is England’s answer is open to debate and will remain so until Capello gives the 6’4” Geordie a chance to shine. If he wants it though, there is no doubt Carroll possess the quality and guile to make a name for himself on the international stage.
Maybe then can he truly be compared to the famous names that have previously worn the magpies number 9 shirt.
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