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Andy Carroll of West Ham is flattened by a challenge from Jose Fonte of Southampton - West Ham United vs Southampton, Barclays Premier League at Upton Park, West Ham - 20/10/12 - MANDATORY CREDIT: Rob Newell/TGSPHOTO - Self billing applies where appropriate - 0845 094 6026 - email@example.com - NO UNPAID USE.
Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Monday, October 22, 2012
Hammers loan star Andy Carroll was left battered and bruised, but is already an essential part of the team
West Ham loan star Andy Carroll asn’t hit the net for the Hammers, but manager Sam Allardyce is still ecstatic about the way the giant striker has fitted into his team.
Carroll was given a torrid time by the brutal Southampton central defenders and didn’t manage a shot on or off target all game, but his presence terrified the visitors and it was he who won the free kick that led to the first goal and he was at the heart of things when the Saints conceded a penalty.
“If you put central defenders under pressure in the end they crack don’t they?” said Hammers boss Sam Allardyce after Saturday’s 4-1 victory.
“Andy may not have scored himself, but he has been an absolute pain in the backside of the two central defenders all day.”
Referee Neil Swarbrick did give the big striker some free kicks on the day, but Allardyce still believes that he doesn’t get as many as he should, beginning with an alleged elbow from Jose Fonte in the first half that left the Liverpool loanee poleaxed.
“I saw it but the referee didn’t,” said the manager. “He led with the arm, but whether it is intentional I don’t know. I’m more disappointed that the referee didn’t give a free kick.
“I sometimes think it is unfair. At six foot five inches, referees don’t take his side in sympathy terms because he is such a big lad.”
Midfielder Mark Noble was quick to echo that view: “Some of the challenges and elbows he put up with today were unbelievable, but it was 4-1 at the end of the day, it was handball definitely because I’ve seen it, he’s led with his arm,” said Noble.
“When you have got someone as big as Andy in the box he is going to cause havoc. Centre halves are going to be so desperate to win the ball that they will do anything.
He got an elbow in the first half which went unpunished, he’s obviously a big man so he can put up with it.”
Carroll may not have hit the target, but Kevin Nolan grabbed his fourth of the campaign and that delighted the manager.
“Kevin Nolan scored again – the man who can’t play!” he said sarcastically.
“He is always going to score goals, he always has in the Premier League for the last 10 or 12 years.
“People can shout play two up top, but you really don’t need to with Kevin Nolan tucked in behind because he will get as many goals as a front man.”
It would be nice to see Carroll hit the net, but in the meantime the manager is just delighted with his contribution.
“Andy will score sooner or later, but it is not about him scoring, it is about us winning,” he said. “He is still only a young man and he still has a lot of improving to do.
“He is such an important player for us already. We have got off to this start, everybody has played a part, but like the old saying goes, if the front man plays well, the team plays well.”
As old sayings go, that is not one that skips readily to mind, but on a day like Saturday, nobody felt like arguing with beaming Big Sam!