Andy Carroll at his best
Andy Carroll at his best

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has hailed Andy Carroll’s all-round ability.

Carroll netted a brilliant hat-trick as West Ham came back from 2-0 down to snatch a 3-3 draw with Arsenal at Upton Park on Saturday.

But Bilic believes the striker is more than just a goal threat, even he compared Carroll to Manchester United legend Paul Scholes.

“I know that he is motivated. Especially after Saturday – he can’t wait to go back out there,” Bilic said of the 27-year-old.

“OK, he scored a hat-trick and all that, but it was not just that he was in or around the box waiting for crosses.

“Take his third goal: He took a ball as a left winger, kept the ball – kept it that we could go out a little bit, because we defended – then switched sides with a diagonal ball, like Paul Scholes used to. Then he was in the box.

“So it was not only the goals.”

Bilic was speaking to the press ahead of West Ham’s FA Cup quarter-final replay with United on Wednesday. The winner will face Everton at Wembley for a place in the final.

Andy Carroll’s career may have been obstructed too many times by injury but the 27-year-old Englishman is someone who is at ease with the footballer he has become now.

He asks no quarter, he gives none, and it will be the same thing on Wednesday night when Slaven Bilic will certainly select his English centre-forward for West Ham’s much anticipated FA Cup sixth-round replay with Manchester United at the Boleyn Ground.

Louis van Gaal also has warned his players that United defence must deal with Carroll if they are to prevail, which brings the question if the centre-forward is, at his best, still unplayable?

The great heading ability is a consequence, he says, of years of practice in the garden with his dad, who would throw the ball in the air for his son to improve his technique.

If only life as a professional footballer had been so simple: the last four years at West Ham remains a difficult period with that 6ft 3in frame struck down by variety of injuries – from a problem between knee and thigh, to a ruptured plantar fascia and damaged medial knee ligaments.

His record of injuries has been to some extent challenging, to say the least, especially the plantar fascia rupture to which he lost seven long months in 2013, including the chance to play for England that May, the last squad for which manager Roy Hodgson called up Carroll.

He is arguably a remarkable specimen, with height and power – broad-shouldered but not bulky – and there have been theories which say for all his strength, he is also vulnerable.


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