The thought of Andy Carroll moving from a team trying to unleash the mediocrity of a mid-table finish to a team pursuing such stature is met with general acceptance.
A good fit to join a side and a manager who would be inclined to extract full potential from his aerial ability. The move could work well. But is Andy Carroll something of a sacrificial, oversized lamb?
England’s exit from Euro 2012 was met in many quarters with the summation that Roy Hodgson’s squad simply lacked the technical know-how to overcome sides that can retain possession.
When started or brought on, the game plan, rather predictably focused heavily on utilising the target man from Gateshead. Little is given to the fact that his competitive history for England prior to the championships was a fleeting substitute appearance in the victory over Wales in qualifying in September 2011.
Before his robust finish to his season the likelihood of Carroll adorning the number 9 jersey for England that he had for Liverpool seemed unlikely but he did. Despite some believing that if Roy Hodgson wanted a big man up front Peter Crouch with more deftness and variety to his game was the choice, however the former Liverpool manager opted for Carroll and was rewarded for his decision.
But Carroll made a contribution of substance to England’s tournament including finding space in between Sweden’s wayward centrebacks and putting his head to a deep Steven Gerrard cross. There was even a semblance of pity that he had to lose out to the returning Wayne Rooney.
But a solid performance in Ukraine that could have been seen as an extension to his return to form at club level doesn’t seem to have conviced many. When Brendan Roger’s handed his 180 page manifesto on his footballing ideology to Fenway Sports Group – aka Tom Werner and John W. Henry – it’s unlikely they poured over pages centred on how a tidy passing game can be built around their most expensive asset.
In comes Fabio Borini – who played under Rodgers at Chelseas youth team and whilst on loan at Swansea. A good finisher who cuts inside and can lay off the ball well. With it the case for Carroll’s deperature gained weight.
The pressure on Carroll must have weighed heavy on his broad shoulders. £35M based primarily on the 11 goals he scored in the first half of the 2010/11 season.
After being relegated with his hometown club in 2009 after a little over a dozen appearances, Carroll came to real prominence in the Championship the following season. But the 17 league goals and two cup goals scored in the 2009/10 season didn’t even make him part of that elusive elite – the 20 goals a season man.
So why would a solid start the following season justify the price paid. Realistically it doesn’t. But the over inflated prices paid between premiership sides shows no sign of abating and with inflated prices will come heighten expectations. And when the hype dies down and the quality is not what it was made out to be, the reputation and confidence of a man could suffer. But if anyone can rebuild a player, Sam Allardyce has strong credentials to do so.