Much has been made of Andy Carroll’s drinking problems and I believe a lot of it has been blown out of proportion and is way over the top.
Carroll has had a very difficult 8 or 9 months in his young career. This time last year though, he had started the season in exceptional form for Newcastle United, scoring 4 goals in his first three games, including a hat-trick at St James’ Park against Aston Villa in a 6-0 win.
It was the making of Andy Carroll as a Premier League striker and before long, people were calling for him to be included in the England squad. Fabio Capello answered those calls and included Carroll in the squad to face France at Wembley in November.
But before all that, Carroll had appeared in a court case over an assault charge, which resulted in him receiving bail on the grounds that he lived with the Newcastle captain Kevin Nolan.
But none of this deterred Liverpool and on January 31st, they forked out £35 million to bring the big Geordie centre-forward to anfield. It was an extraordinary transfer fee to pay for a player who had his well documented problems off the pitch, but there was no doubt that on the pitch, he was becoming a handful for Premiership defences and was turning out to be unplayable at times.
But his career on Anfield took a while to get going due to injury, but once he recovered he made an immediate impression with two goals against Manchester City at Anfield which showed what he was all about. One with a hammer of a left foot and the other, a trademark bullet header. But they remain the only two league goals Carroll has scored for Liverpool and he has not started this new season in great form.
He has been criticised for looking off the pace and slightly overweight, which led to England manager Fabio Capello questioning Carroll’s drinking problem this week. The England manager said that Carroll was ”out of condition” and he needed to ”improve and to drink less.”
I thought it was unfair for Capello to speak so openly about Carroll in public, it was an issue that should’ve remained private. Capello’s admission has now heaped more pressure on Carroll and has taken the focus away from his football.
Andy Carroll’s off the pitch misdemeanours have always been made very public and the press have always looked to slaughter him at any opportunity. There is no doubting Carroll’s talent, and at just 22, he has the ability to become a great striker for England in the future and also become a leading Premier league striker for years to come.
But at the moment, it seems Carroll doesn’t have the right temperament to succeed. He needs to be guided in the right direction and this can be offered by his club manager at Liverpool, Kenny Dalglish. Kenny was the one who requested the signing of Carroll to Liverpool and he believes in the striker and Carroll should repay the faith shown in him by the Scot and he may be just the kind of manager he needs.
Liverpool fans are yet to be convinced by the £35 million striker, and a large amount of pressure has been taken off him by the imperious form of Luis Suarez since he arrived at Liverpool. Carroll hasn’t had anywhere near the same impact as the Uruguayan, but he has been given a lot of time to settle in at the club, but Liverpool fans will soon be judging him by his goals.
It also doesn’t help the young striker’s confidence that Liverpool seem to be better without him in the team. This was evidenced by their impressive 3-1 win against Bolton a few weeks ago, when he was on the bench, and their 2-0 win over Arsenal, where both goals were scored once Carroll was substituted.
It seems his heavy price-tag is weighing on him and he is feeling the pressure to immediately impress everybody at Anfield. But after completing a full pre-season and with his injuries behind him, Carroll should now focus on his football and not let anything distract him.
I fully back Carroll to overcome his recent problems and prove the critics wrong. in order for Liverpool to achieve their targets this season, I believe they need a fully fit and in-form Andy Carroll to be firing on all cylinders, because he can be the key for them this season.