It may not be a popular opinion, but West Ham should keep Andy Carroll at the end of this season. The English striker is a physical beast on the pitch, but his injury problems have constantly interrupted any chance of him performing on a consistent basis. Some don’t like his attitude, some don’t like his wages, but me, I like what he brings on the pitch.

“He’s the best plan B in the Premier League” – it’s a valid point. In a conversation with Dave Walker of Sex, Drugs, and Carlton Cole, he explained to me why he thinks Carroll has value and I can’t disagree. When he is fit, he adds an element not a lot of teams can defend against which is pure physical aerial dominance.

This season Carroll has only been in the squad fifteen times, starting just seven matches. Early on Bilic was attempting to shoe-horn him into an attacking unit that was going to rely on a Chicharito as a striker, Antonio as a RW and Arnautovic as a LW, essentially trying to use all of his players he paid so heavily for in the off season. The only problem was that Chicharito wasn’t understood to be an out-and-out striker and would need to work off a big man.

With the wingers kept wide, Carroll was thought to be the man to match with the enigmatic Mexican fox in the box. But where do the wingers go? Surely West Ham can’t play four forwards with a team defence as poor as the hammers fielded this season? And so unravelled the rise and fall of Slaven Bilic, seemingly downing in options up top and unable to find the magical equation of who would work best where.

Carroll did start for West Ham from September 11th – October 14th for West Ham, a string of five games that ended abruptly after a second red card in the 27th minute against Burnley. All the while without a goal. He wouldn’t see the score sheet until he scored a brace against West Brom at the London Stadium to start the New year – a signature aerial header and a stoppage time winner. He brings something to the team, that’s why I want to keep him.

What I think justifies my belief that he should be kept, is his heir apparent in Jordan Hugill that was signed from Preston in the January transfer window. Carroll is bigger than him, but Hugill is faster. What they have in common is their physical style, aerial skills, and ability to finish. Hugill uses his speed to pressure where as Carroll relies on his size.

Hugill has been seen bonding strongly with his new teammates and has apparently been spending time with Noble and Carroll regularly. If he can pick up game play habits, and not off pitch habits from Carroll he could be an effective target man and centre-forward in the Prem.

As for Carroll, his contract us up at the end of next season. Realistically there is little to no value in moving him out this summer, especially after his season being cut extremely short due to injury. Why not keep him, let him share time with Hugill next season (should he be around) and be the target man again? We have the wingers to get him the ball with Antonio and Arnautovic.

The uncomfortable reality would be that Chicharito would likely move on if Carroll stayed. Even more uncomfortable may be the fact that West Ham should move on from him. The Hammers lack the quality midfielders to get him the ball and can’t afford to always play two centre-forwards to maximize his ability. After a strong showing for Mexico in the World Cup Chicharito could fetch a pretty penny, so don’t be surprised should he depart the East end of London this summer – especially if the man bun sticks around.

Unplayable on his day but injury plagued to an impossible level. Andy Carroll is a walking enigma in the football world, but one West Ham supporters are used to at this point. His primal abilities lie in his physical stature, and because of this the football West Ham have to play with him in the line up is much simpler. I say keep him, maximize his effectiveness with simple football, and maximize his health with a Hugill time share. It’s only one more season.


By Adam Smith

Jon Pope

By Jon Pope

Use to sit in the BML for 10 years, been a West Ham fan all my life, and my great grandfather was a founder member of the TIW. I also help run the Hammer Chat website.

One thought on “Friday Thoughts: The Case for Keeping Carroll”
  1. I’m with you. Keep Carroll. Sell Chicky. Of course will Mr bun with head even want to stay with us if we go down?

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