West Ham fans have been through the wringer a few times this season, and they’ll always give a completely honest and unbiased assessment of their team and club if asked.
To a man, they all still rate Andy Carroll, and so do the club.
Injuries have played a huge part in his lack of game time this season, and theoretically he needs to have a full pre-season to get back to somewhere approaching his best form.
But there’s no denying that he offers something that no other England striker does.
His presence and physicality allow him to dominate most opponents, particularly aerially, and as he’s shown on a few occasions, he still knows where the goal is.
To this point, he’s not really been in the England conversation, but he has to be given due consideration.
Harry Kane is in a league of his own, so there’s no suggestion he’s a replacement. Far from it in fact.
And yet, they all offer much the same in terms of attacking threat. Reasonable pace and an eye for goal.
Nothing wrong with that of course, but when a game is getting away from you and something different is needed, having a powerful ‘old school’ No.9 at your disposal as an alternative could tip the scales.
Three goals in his seven appearances is a ratio that affords him the courtesy of having Southgate or one of his staff at least ‘take a look.’
Even if he were to be an impact sub, there’s enough about his natural game, if he stays fit, to give him a spot in the squad.
Remember, Theo Walcott was taken to a World Cup and then not played. Even if Carroll only had 10 minutes at the end of each match, he could be the game changer.
Kane will often be ploughing a lone furrow and has the nous and the form to be England’s talisman, but why not go route one occasionally? Get the midfield pushing up and ready for the inevitable knock downs.
It won’t be pretty and almost certainly won’t curry favour with those who prefer a more beautiful game.
But let’s be clear. Given the choice of aesthetically pleasing football or a style – when needed – that brings results, surely the most pragmatic style is the right choice?
England don’t have to be ‘pretty’ nor ‘inventive’ to win the fans over.
If back to basics works, even occasionally, England are cutting their nose off to spite their face if they don’t take advantage.
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