A Different Opinion – Should Andy Carroll be in the England squad?

Each week, A Different League takes an emerging issue from the Premier League and gathers the viewpoint of some of our expert writers. This week:

“After scoring the only goal in Newcastle’s impressive victory over Arsenal at the Emirates, does Andy Carroll deserve a call-up to the England squad?”

Alex Bath: If the answer to the last question asked of the England squad was Kevin Davies, then without doubt Andy Carroll deserves a call up. Kevin Davies is an excellent player who deserves a lot of credit for changing people’s opinion of him and showing his talent. Andy Carroll is demonstrating that he has bags of talent and could be a hugely important player for England.

So often the nation’s hopes hang on Wayne Rooney to help pull an England result out of some sort of entirely predictable disaster – Lampard and Gerrard can’t play together, no width, goalkeeping howler; that sort of thing. Andy Carroll has already demonstrated this season that, at least on the football pitch, he has a brain to go alongside his John Charles-style lump of a number 9 look. The way Carroll and Shola Ameobi have interlinked and worked with the Newcastle midfield suggests that England could be on the verge of having two strikers who are capable of going and getting the ball.

Peter Crouch has rather cornered the ‘big man’ role for England of late, but I can’t remember many times where he peeled off the defence into space, run into channels or dropped deep to pick the ball up in ‘the hole’. Carroll is a brute of a man who will scare the hell out of a fair few defenders, but he will also surprise a few of them when they see him popping up out wide, running at them or sliding passes into Rooney and co.

Get him in the squad now, please.

Frank McCann: Of course he does. When a player is performing well, why wouldn’t you pick him?

Looking at the England striker situation at present, I think it is time that Fabio Capello broadens his horizons when it comes to picking his frontline. I was baffled when I saw Kevin Davies receive an England call-up ahead of others in the last announced squad. Really? Kevin Davies? A man who gets cautioned more than any other forward at club level playing the International game, which by the way, is far stricter than the domestic game. That decision just didn’t make sense in my eyes. I wasn’t surprised to see Davies get booked on his debut. In fact, I’m not surprised to see him booked in any game.

Andy Carroll is a far superior player. Not only is he younger, quicker and taller, but also he possesses the same strength and aggressiveness that Davies has. Let what’s happening off the pitch not play a part in Capello’s decision. If Wayne Rooney was fit, he would undoubtedly be included in the squad. But if he were to base the squad picks on form, Carroll would be miles ahead of Rooney, who has been abysmal so far this season.

To me, it makes sense to get players playing for their country when they are in their best form, and although picking Carroll may not vastly change England as a whole, it is better having players with confidence in the team than players that are picked on their reputation.

Give Andy Carroll his chance I say. What has Fabio got to lose?

James McLean: There can be little denying Carroll’s pedigree, and his performance has certainly raised more than a few impressed eyebrows so far this season. One does also have to examine the current England frontline when trying to determine whether this guy deserves a slot with the big boys, but considering the form and failings of the regular Lions, however, I think it is indeed time for a change – and there are few players knocking on the door as loudly as Carroll.

He’s currently the joint-second top English scorer in the Premier League alongside Darren Bent who also has a great chance of establishing himself in the white shirt. Of course the likes of Wayne Rooney and Peter Crouch are going to be in the picture for a long time to come whether they are performing well or not, but statistics say that Carroll and Bent are the in-form English strikers so far this season. Both guys are level on goals with Didier Drogba, and are only a single strike behind the overall leaders who include Carroll’s team-mate Kevin Nolan – who should also be considered for an England role before he is poached by ROI or the Netherlands!

Taking everything into account, I can see Carroll getting his first senior minutes with the Lions on his chest against France on November 17. Whether he starts or is given half an hour towards to end to try and ease the transition could be argued either way, but as it is a friendly against former champions I can’t think of many better matches in which to introduce some new blood to the world. Give him a go – he might be just the kick England need to get some performances under their belts which can get the fans proudly singing once again.

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