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Andy Carroll- New boy in toon.

For keen followers of the Championship, Andy Carroll has already shown his huge potential but for football fans whose interests lie mainly in the riches and the glamour of the Premier League, Carroll is an unknown quantity. Premier League fans saw glimpses of Carroll during Newcastle’s relegation dogfight in the 2008/2009 season when he scored on his full debut against West Ham at St. James’ Park. He went on to score a further two goals including a vital equaliser at Stoke a few weeks before Newcastle were relegated.

Newcastle’s relegation was disastrous for the club but importantly, not for the likes of Carroll and Shola Ameobi etc. The departures of Michael Owen, Obafemi Martins and Mark Viduka meant that Carroll had the chance to stake his claim for a regular Newcastle start. The likes of Owen and Martins were big shoes to fill for such a young man, such a rough diamond but  everyone associated with Newcastle United saw his potential.

Newcastle went into the championship with Ameobi, Lovenkrands and Carroll leading the charge back towards the premier league and Carroll certainly didn’t disappoint. Carroll ended the campaign as the Toon’s leading goalscorer with 17 league goals and 2 FA Cup goals. Inevitably, being a Geordie, Newcastle United striker, comparisons began to be made with the legendary Alan Shearer and although Carroll is yet to prove these comparisons are fair, he undoubtedly has bags of potential to go on and score a hatful of goals and become every Geordie’s idol. He starred in a 5-1 demolition of Play-off finalists Cardiff City when he scored 2 goals, possibly his best performance in a black and white shirt.

As the 2010/11 season looms, Carroll has been awarded the number 9 shirt, the shirt worn by Shearer, Jackie Milburn, Malcolm Macdonald and Andrew Cole. it’s not just a number at Newcastle, it’s a tradition, the player wearing the number 9 scores goals. Carroll has been described as a typical number 9 striker; strong, good in the air, powerful infront of goal- all attributes which indicate Carroll will fulfil his potential and become an established Premier League and England striker in the years to come.

When you watch Carroll play, it is easy to see why he is being tipped as the future of English football. Perhaps his inexperience was the reason why he was not picked for England at the World Cup but more likely Capello didn’t want to risk making a walcott-esque decision as Sven Goran Eriksson had done in 2006 but having watched the England games, having watched Rooney, Heskey- and Defoe and Crouch to an extent- misfire on the big stage, the wildcard option of Carroll’s inclusion does not seem so unattractive.

His time will come, i’ve no doubt about that. He is only 21 and this season is his chance to announce himself to the Premier League and if he and Newcastle can survive the jump back up to the big league, Euro 2012 is on the horizon for the talented Geordie.

Carroll is certainly not short of admirers. Chris Hughton believes that Carroll will follow in the footsteps of the great Newcastle number 9s. Gianluigi Buffon even famously complimented him on his ability and described him as the perfect ‘paintbrush striker’. Some consider a ‘paintbrush striker’ as a compliment, others think it is an insult but in my opinion (and Buffon’s) it is most definitely a compliment. Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Michael Owen and Fernando Torres all fall into the category and those three are amongst the best the Premier League has seen. Alan Shearer described Carroll as the future of Newcastle. Furthermore, Chelsea are rumoured to be enquiring about Carroll’s availability, One hopes that Carroll doesn’t go to Chelsea though as he could end up warming the bench along with another talented, young, English striker Daniel Sturridge.

It’s hard to tell how Newcastle will perform this season but if they are to do well and maintain their top flight status,  I am sure that Carroll will be at the heart of it. Who knows what will happen in the future but he certainly has the ability, the desire and the support to become a Legend to the adoring Toon Army.

Also vital to Carroll is the seasons worth of starts, goals and experience that have helped shape him into a better player which will stand him in good stead for a solid season in the Premier League where i feel if things go his way, he will find himself high in the scoring charts and with a few England caps under his belt.



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