August 21 2014 Latest news:
Dave Evans, West Ham correspondent
Monday, March 17, 2014
Goalscorer Andy drops another World Cup hint
West Ham striker Andy Carroll fired in another message to England coach Roy Hodgson by scoring his first goal of the season at Stoke City on Saturday, writes Dave Evans.
Despite the Hammers slipping to a 3-1 defeat at the Britannia, it was no fault of the big striker who put in a fine performance, scoring one, going close twice more and earning what should have been a penalty.
If Hodgson wants someone who can head home the easiest of set-pieces in the jungle heat of Manaus in Brazil then the 24-year-old striker could well be the man he needs.
It took him just five minutes to get his name on the scoresheet.
“It was a great set-piece from Mark Noble,” said Carroll. “He put it right in the same place as we have been practising in training and I just got my head to it quicker than anyone else.”
Carroll also shot inches over and had another effort deflected wide as he caused problems for Stoke’s big centre halves and that was just in the first half.
In the second, he combined well with Kevin Nolan to go through and see his shot denied by the keeper, before being denied what he thought was a blatant penalty.
“I feel like the ball was coming in on my chest and I was going to bring it down in the box. I thought it clearly hit his hand, but the referee obviously didn’t.”
The general consensus was that it was a penalty – manager Sam Allardyce was certainly convinced, while he is also sure that the striker could be England’s secret weapon at the forthcoming World Cup.
“The good thing from Roy Hodgson’s point of view is that he won’t have a fatigued player if he picks him,” said the manager.
“He will have a mentally and physically fresh player who is going to be very enthusiastic about going to the World Cup having missed most of this season.”
Carroll is keen to make that plane, but at the moment he has other priorities.
“I feel good. I have been working hard in training through my suspension, so I am feeling really fit and I’m ready to go,” said Carroll.
“I have been thinking about the World Cup of course, but I have got to start scoring goals for West Ham and start winning games before I can think about all that.”