West Ham's Carroll is back, but have fans run out of patience with him?
PUBLISHED: 11:30 21 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:36 21 November 2018
The big Hammers striker played 45 minutes in a friendly at Brentford and is looking for a place on the bench for Saturday
West Ham striker Andy Carroll will look for a place on the substitutes’ bench for Saturday’s clash with champions Manchester City.
After suffering injury while pre-season training in Switzerland, he has not played a single competitive minute during this campaign.
But last Thursday afternoon he made his long-awaited return to action in a behind-closed doors match against Brentford at Griffin Park.
He played the second half and helped West Ham to a 2-1 friendly victory and at the same time confirmed his return to fitness.
“It was good to see Andy play 45 minutes without any problems,” said manager Manuel Pellegrini.
“He is always a player who, when he comes on the pitch, gives different things, so I hope he can stay fit from now until the end of the season. He is always an important option.”
And that, in a nutshell, is the vital role Pellegrini will want the former England international to play for the rest of the season.
While Marko Arnautovic is the undisputed number one striker at West Ham, goals from elsewhere have been few and far between.
Javier Hernandez scored a penalty in the friendly win at Brentford, but has only two to his name, as has Andriy Yarmolenko.
Felipe Anderson has four, but it is clear someone like Carroll, fit and raring to go, would be a huge asset to West Ham’s squad.
Carroll signed for the Hammers in 2013 for a £15million fee and though he has had some great moments, he has also had a terrible time with injuries.
After a loan period, where he started 22 games and scored seven goals, he has never managed to start 20 games in the five seasons he has been at the club since then.
He has now played 104 games in claret and blue and scored 26 goals, but opinion amongst fans is as divided as the Brexit debate.
Many would say this is the last chance for the former England man, but there is no doubt that when he is on top of his game, he is practically unstoppable.
The manager will consider him and ‘Chicharito’ against City on Saturday and it will be fascinating to see who he opts for.
“It was good for ‘Chicharito’ to play 90 minutes,” said Pellegrini.
“He arrived from the World Cup without a good pre-season before we started the first game, so we couldn’t start him. After that, he had a virus for more than one month, so he is getting fitter, playing minutes in every game.
“Always, as a striker, it’s good to score. It doesn’t matter if it’s a penalty, it gives us more trust in him.”
Carroll is rumoured to be considering a move to Major League Soccer in the new year. But if he can stay fit and prove himself again to West Ham, a trip across the pond may be delayed indefinitely.