Since bursting onto the Premier League and International scene following some fantastic performances for Newcastle United, Andy Carroll has struggled with inconsistency and injuries for much of his career.
However, the English forward has shown signs recently that he may have managed to put a disappointing spell at Liverpool behind him, and it seems that Slaven Bilic’s West Ham side are a far better fit for his style of play.
Carroll established his place in Bilic’s squad in the latter half of last season; scoring nine goals in 27 games overall and reclaiming the starting spot from Diafra Sakho, who will probably leave West Ham in the coming weeks.
With the additions of Sofiane Feghouli and Gokhan Tore at West Ham this year, and Dimitri Payet still present within the squad, Carroll will find himself in great company at the new Olympic Stadium this season and perhaps even enjoy the best years of his career.
The Hammers’ playing style suits Carroll superbly well, with set-pieces being one of the club’s most focused areas. As we all know, Andy Carroll is lethal in the air, and the likes of Payet are bound to provide him with some fantastic headed chances on numerous occasions.
In fact, if Carroll avoids injury setbacks for the season, he is destined to finish the year with 15-20 goals without a problem. A starting spot currently looks cemented under Bilic, as the Croatian manager is a big admirer of his abilities in attack and commitment in defence.
There are no better forwards in the league when it comes to aerial duels, and this asset is especially useful when playing for a team who when unable to establish ground passing will willingly skip the midfield with long balls.
He failed to fit into the playing philosophy of Kenny Dalglish and later Brendan Rodgers at Anfield, but it looks like West Ham is the best place to be for the 27-year-old who is supposedly reaching his prime period.
Carroll could be in the mix for the national team again if he repeats his form from the end of last season that saw him score six goals in nine games including an incredible hat-trick against Arsenal in a 3-3 thriller at Boleyn Ground.
The 6’4″ striker has already appeared in both games this season against Domzale in the Europa League qualification rounds and recorded an assist in Thursday’s 3-0 win at the Olympic Stadium.
The first couple of months of the new season are going to be crucial for Carroll and will define his year. Perhaps the forward’s biggest task at first, however, is to stay fit for a prolonged period. If the journey back to his best is to be made by Andy Carroll, it is likely to have to be a gradual one; such is his tendency to pick up injuries.