Was Carroll a gamble worth taking?
Newcastle’s Andy Carroll has started light training as he bids for yet another comeback but why would any manager want to sign such an injury-plagued player?
Football has been littered with injury-prone players over the years who have earned the moniker ‘sicknote’, with Tottenham and England midfielder Darren Anderton one of the more high profile names to fit that bill.
Now 47, the talented forward won 30 England caps but would have received many more had he not spent so much time in the treatment room.
The baton has now passed to Carroll, who seems to be taking it to another level and it remains to be seen when he will make his debut for the Magpies in his second stint on Tyneside.
In seven years with West Ham, the 30-year-old from Gateshead appeared in only 126 Premier League games – coming off the bench in many of them.
The rangy striker played 39 times for Newcastle in the Championship during the 2009-2010 campaign, earning him a move to Liverpool and he was a regular fixture in the Reds first team in 2011-12, with 35 outings.
However, that has not been the norm since and fans will be waiting for him to break down once again if and when he pulls on the black and white shirt.
The general consensus is that Steve Bruce signed up the free agent to get the supporters on board after his controversial appointment, as one of their own was returning to the club, but he cannot do much on the physio’s couch.
There is always the hope that Carroll will finally rid himself of the injuries that have blighted his career – but it seems unlikely.
The man capped nine times by England took tentative steps back into training on Tuesday but Bruce did not seem overly confident that the forward will be blazing a trail anytime soon.
“Now, we’ve got to progress that and see where he is but it’s calculating a gamble,” he said. “It’s a gamble I’m convinced after seeing him that he’ll take some part somewhere and if we can hopefully get him on the pitch then great.”
Signing a player with Carroll’s history of injuries is more than a gamble and smacks of desperation as there are many managers who would not go near someone who rarely plays.
However, after all that has gone on at Newcastle over the past few years, nothing is surprising any more.
Neil Foster is an experienced journalist who specialises in cricket and rugby union. Neil also has a solid knowledge of tennis, golf and football.