West Ham big man is fit and firing for the new season
PUBLISHED: 08:16 15 August 2016
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Hammers boss Slaven Bilic thinks it is a massive season for Andy Carroll
With constant talk in the West Ham camp of bringing in a that big-money £20million striker for the new season, the frontmen already at the club have reacted in different ways.
For Diafra Sakho it has been a petulant reaction, demanding a move away from east London, though having trouble in actually securing a move.
For Enner Valencia it has been a case of working as hard as he can, even if it has been on the wing, to show that he is too good to let go.
For Andy Carroll it has been a case of knuckling down in his first injury-free pre-season in years and on Sunday against mighty Juventus it all came together as he scored twice in the 3-2 defeat against the Italian giants.
“I’m feeling good,” said the 27-year-old Geordie. “I got through pre-season really well, so now I am just looking forward to the start of the season and to keep producing my performances and scoring goals for the team.”
Carroll pulled West Ham back into it against Juventus when he met Sam Byram’s cross from the left with a header that Gianluigi Buffon could only parry against his own post and the striker reacted quickest to bundle it in.
His second, shortly after the break, was a typical centre forward’s goal.
Mark Noble crossed from the right and Carroll thumped in a header which gave substitute keeper Neto absolutely no chance.
“I’ve been screaming out for crosses since I have been here,” smiled Carroll who is looking happy with family life in London. “Two came in and I’ve got my head on them and they ended up in the back of the net, which was great.
“It was a great save for the first one, which is why Buffon is one of the best, but I’ve managed to follow it in and get a tap-in.”
When Carroll gets the right type of service there are few better in the Premier League and despite West Ham ending up losing 3-2, it was still a day that went well and he added: “It was a good day. The fans came out and were great in the lovely weather. It was nice to get scoring in this stadium as soon as possible. It was good for the fans who turned up, too.”
It certainly was, but now the friendlies are over and West Ham must get down to business and they now have that big-money signing in Andre Ayew from Swansea City.
Carroll thinks that they have a good chance of an excellent campaign.
“We’ve got a good squad,” he said. “The manager has done well in the transfer window and we’ve bonded pretty well over pre-season. Our dressing room is very good at welcoming new people in and I think we’re all relishing the start of the Premier League season now.”
One group who will not be relishing the new season if Carroll stays fit, will be the opposition defenders. When he is on song, he can be almost unplayable.
Manager Slaveb Bilic thinks this will be a vital season for his big striker.
“It is massive for Andy, but we said the same last season,” said Bilic. “What we must hope is that after doing the whole pre-season and being rested for a couple of games when we wanted and no because of injury, he will have a good season.
“Last year statistically, his goal rate and assists was a 20 goal a season rate, but because of the games he was available for he only scored nine.
On the other hand, only three teams scored more goals than us last season, because we spread the goals around. “Are we going to do it this year? We don’t know. But to have someone of that quality in your team is vital and we hope this season he is going to stay fit,” concluded Bilic.
We all hope that. Carroll scored in both games against Chelsea last season, maybe he can do it again this time round, starting tonight at Stamford Bridge.