March 12 2014 Latest news:
Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Monday, February 4, 2013
Hammers striker Andy Carroll returned with a superb display and the winning goal against Swansea City on Saturday
In the 12 games that West Ham have played since Andy Carroll last started a match at Manchester United in November, the Hammers have won just two of them.
A significant statistic? Almost certainly if you look at the outstanding performance put in by the Liverpool loanee on his return to Upton Park on Saturday against Swansea City.
He caused problems for the Swans defence all day, created some great chances and then rounded things off by meeting Mark Noble’s corner with a towering header to give West Ham three vital points.
For the 24-year-old striker, it was the end of a tough time.
“It has been frustrating,” said Carroll. “Being injured generally is frustrating, but when we have not been on the best of runs it has made it even worse.
“When I’ve seen the lads going out to training every day and I have to sit it out and work indoors, that has been hard because it is not where I want to be.”
It is also when Carroll has gone off the rails in the past, but perhaps this is a new, more mature player who has grown up under the wing of club captain Kevin Nolan.
He still does not like being on the sidelines though.
“I try to keep away from the matches to be honest when I’m injured. I am not a good watcher,” he stressed.
“Obviously I have got to come to the home games, but to keep us sane I have to try and switch off from it and not think about it because if I did I would probably rush back too early as I just want to be involved.”
He was certainly involved on Saturday and surprised many, including his manager, by playing all 90 minutes.
“I’ve been working hard with the fitness coaches in the gym, even when I couldn’t run I was still in the gym working hard to maintain my fitness and it has obviously paid off getting 90 minutes,” he said.
Despite Carroll’s display, it took until the 77th minute before West Ham finally broke the Swansea resistance and the £35million man put that down to one thing.
“The keeper was great, he kept them in the game,” said Carroll. “We had a few chances and he has done very well, but we just kept on creating them and creating them and I finally got the chance to put one in the back of the net which was great.”
Some of those chances went to Carroll’s friend, captain and strike partner Nolan and the big forward was quick to emphasise how good it is to play alongside him.
“He had a couple of great chances and any other day the keeper probably wouldn’t have saved them,” said Carroll.
“I enjoy playing up front with Kev. He runs off us and tells us where he is and vice versa really. We know where each other is going to be and it is a good partnership we have on and off the pitch really.”
Now every West Ham fan is just praying that their star man stays fit for the rest of the season.
“Staying fit is the most important thing,” he said. “It was a great three points and a very big win against Swansea and it will be good if we get another three next week.
“I don’t set any goal targets. I just want to work hard, try and create chances for the team and if I get my chance, try and put it away – that is all I do really.”
It sounds simple, but it takes a special player to be able to do that on a consistent basis and West Ham seem to have found that man.”