Looking ahead to England’s friendly against France on Wednesday it is clear that the selection of one man in particular has grabbed the newspapers’ attention. Unsurprisingly, given his history of misdemeanors, that man is Andy Carroll.
As Henry Winter rather ungenerously points out, “Andy Carroll has made more court appearances than international appearances”, but his colleague at the Daily Telegraph, Alan Smith, instead chooses to focus on the striker’s qualities as a player.
“Once it became clear he was fit, there really was no other choice. Andy Carroll simply had to play against France. Why? Because England haven't been able to call on a centre-forward like this for a very long time.
“You can talk about Peter Crouch, Emile Heskey and Bobby Zamora. You can go back to Alan Shearer, Teddy Sheringham or even Gary Lineker - all of whom served their country in different ways - but none offered quite the same qualities as the big, bustling, rumbustious striker currently giving Premier League defenders one hell of a tough time.
“For a start, Carroll is massive. I mean, seriously big. Not as tall as Crouch, admittedly, but certainly twice as wide and someone who, crucially, jumps his full height. Not every player can do that, but Carroll can due to the power in his legs, not to mention a muscular top half more than capable of wrestling opponents out the way.
“Given the right service, that could be a formidable combination at international level, just as long as he doesn't end up constantly conceding fouls to clever defenders well versed in winning free-kicks.”
“Not that we're talking about the finished article. There are plenty of rough edges still to knock off. However, what we can say with certainty is that Carroll has potential. The potential to do extremely well for England.”