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Carroll can spare the blushes for England's World Cup flops

By Lee Ryder on Nov 8, 10 09:19 AM

Last season I had the audacity to suggest that Andy Carroll should have been on the plane to South Africa for the World Cup with England.

The suggestion was scoffed at, but those who did aren't scoffing now.

And when they were crying into their beer after the exit of England in the World Cup, they wouldn't have been scoffing then either.

My reasoning behind it, was that Carroll would offer England both something different as well as possibly providing the element of surprise after a season under the radar in the Championship.

Just 11 games into the Premier League campaign and Carroll has six goals and four assists, and is now on the brink of the England squad with Fabio Capello an interested specator at the Emirates to see him power home an old fashioned centre-forward's goal.

Carroll woke up to headlines surrounding off the field activities but while many a young player would have crumbled following a spun up story that was quickly denied by United, the big Geordie went out and put in a performance of international class against one of the best teams in Europe.

England are a team in dire need of invention and devoid of ideas at the moment, with Carroll's towering presence, superb aerial abilities and a left foot that can cause more damage than a bull in a china shop - he is very much the real deal in the top flight.

Controversially, some might say, I am sympathetic to some of the off field attention that Carroll has became a victim of in his hometown.

Footballers do have a duty to act properly in public but this should not be a reason for the public to feel they can act how ever they like when footballer's are around.

They aren't special cases, but they are entitled to a life off the field.

Carroll is not a Billy big time, he signs more autographs for fans and poses for pictures in public then most footballers I've ever known.

But while he operates with an easy access policy off the field, the problem is the door is left open for any Tom, Dick or Harry to approach him in any given moment.

This has resulted in problems within the Goldfish Bowl, probably one of the most unforgiving places in the UK.

Unlike London, where Carroll would simply melt into the background, Newcastle is smaller and footballers always have been deemed public property in the eyes of some.

Expecting an autograph is one thing, but unfortunately, some people take it too far and in the case of the lad who threw a drink over Carroll in Blu Bambu in what could be deemed as a fit of jealously by a non-league player, it's evidence that players are easy targets for nut jobs intoxicated on a night out in the Bigg Market.

In Andy Carroll, you have a lad who has lived his whole life on Tyneside and up until two years ago could walk freely around the streets of Newcastle without being recognised.

It can't be easy to then have random punters throwing themselves at you left, right and centre.

At 21, he's still young and he will make mistakes - but surely that is the same for most 21-year-olds?

Carroll now knows that he carries with him the responsibility of thousands as the key to supporters' hopes and dreams wearing that number 9 shirt.

Asking a young player to become a monk, doesn't work, ask Andy Cole, hiding away almost drove him up the walls at Newcastle and ultimately added up to his exit at St James' Park.

For now, Carroll needs to stick to the stage he performs best on, the football field.

And if Capello has any sense, that stage should be the international one.

Because Carroll is mentally strong enough to cope with the biggest tests of them all.

9 Comments

Richard said:

"And when they were crying into their beer after the exit of England in the World Cup, they wouldn't have been scoffing then either.
"

No they're just laughing at you for for thinking you're all that. There's such a thing as being promoted too early you know Lee (such as your own promotion to your current position). He wasn't ready for all that in the summer. Or were you expecting championship defenders in SA?

Ryder's reply: The only thing that has changed since the summer is that Carroll's performances are on the big stage. Takes a brave international manager to go lower than top flight status although Bobby Robson done it with Steve Bull when he was playing THIRD flight football and scored five goals in 13 games. As for your other opinions re Championship defenders, I didn't expect Championship defenders at the World Cup, I KNEW they were there.
Ex-Watford defender Jay DeMerit was one of them in the USA game (we only drew 1-1 and no striker looked good enough from England's point of view) Carroll had him in his back pocket at Watford last season and scored in a 2-1 win.
Nadir Belhadj helped Pompey finish bottom of the Premier League last season and Carroll would have been up against him, he now plays for the mighty Al Sadd while Bougherra plays in the Mickey Mouse League in Scotland.
I hardly think he'd be worried about playing against defensive kingpin Mark Suler of Gent either in the group stages.
Overall that's my opinion to Carroll, and I'm entitled to it - certainly not a case of thinking I'm all that, that's just laughable, it's an opinion blog for crying out loud!

Jay said:

Lee, you've been talking sense for a good couple of months now! Carroll would have been a risk for any manager to take to S.A but it should have been taken! Crouch played 5 mins in s.a, pointless him being there, Andy would have been an unknown quantity, he'd already played for u21's and he's around the same age as quite a few of the German players that took the tournament by storm!
Wish Luke Edwards would take your view on wor andy, he seems to have a right grudge against the lad!

Relton said:

Great performance by AC - I too was critical of him a few seasons ago - but seeing his work rate and the amount he lends when defending this season in the top flight he really is going some way to prove his critics wrong.

And therein lies the secret - let the talking be done - on the field.
Hats off to Joey too - he seems to have learnt that lesson - and a year in the Championship seems to have forged a great Band of Brothers. My worry is that if a team stops Joey - then they cut of our major supply.
Tiote was man of the match for me yesterday too. And the back four - well played all round.
They sent me skipping in to work again this monday.
Personally - I would say - who cares about England. Let those underachievers go about thier business as they wish - lets concentrate on winning at home - and continue to recover those lost points against Blackpool and Stoke.

Lee Ryder Author Profile Pagesaid:

Ryder's reply: The only thing that has changed since the summer is that Carroll's performances are on the big stage. Takes a brave international manager to go lower than top flight status although Bobby Robson done it with Steve Bull when he was playing THIRD flight football and scored five goals in 13 games. As for your other opinions re Championship defenders, I didn't expect Championship defenders at the World Cup, I KNEW they were there. Ex-Watford defender Jay DeMerit was one of them in the USA game (we only drew 1-1 and no striker looked good enough from England's point of view) Carroll had him in his back pocket at Watford last season and scored in a 2-1 win. Nadir Belhadj helped Pompey finish bottom of the Premier League last season and Carroll would have been up against him, he now plays for the mighty Al Sadd while Bougherra plays in the Mickey Mouse League in Scotland. I hardly think he'd be worried about playing against defensive kingpin Mark Suler of Gent either in the group stages. Overall that's my opinion to Carroll, and I'm entitled to it - certainly not a case of thinking I'm all that, that's just laughable, it's an opinion blog for crying out loud!

DormAnt said:

A flawed genius - floored Arsenal - all hail "The Hairy Striker."

marcusTOON4LIFE said:

Listen, regarding whether AC plays for england or not doesn't bother me at all. I believe in the notion CLUB FIRST!! then the rest will take care of its on. Why should he worry himself about playing for lame duck manager in capello? He is enjoying his club football and long may that continue. We are the most passionate fans in the world and AC would never receive the kind of LOVE he is getting from us. With england we have supporters of different clubs who want to turn against for the sake of it. As for you richard, Lee is more of a newcastle fan than you will ever be and this is a BLOG and has RIGHT to express his opinions like any other blogger on this sight, so get that in heed!!

toonagain said:

AC age and inexperience has had a lot to do with the trouble he has been in over the last yr or so, it massice pressure for someone his age and he asn't got used to it yet, he is now our number one player only a couple of months into the season and look what hes been through police, court, new contract, burnt out top of the range car -this could end up be a huge wait on his shoulders. the pressure of reserecting england too could just be way too much for him. let him get used to his new life as newcastles number 9 and whe he has shown he can cope then and only then shold he be considered. look at our past stars like Dyer, Jenas even Bramble and look what happend too them, a couple of games for england and they impolded or the amount of games just broke them before they were mature enough physically -Owen,Barton!? Let CH bring him on at a proper pace and if we're still here next season then he can be considered...

bob harvey said:

It doesn't look such a big breakthrough when you see that Jay Bothroyd is in the squad. 36 goals in 93 games for Cardiff; Chopra's scored 51 in 120 for Cardiff.

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Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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