Club Focus – Newcastle – Carroll receives international call-up

Newcastle again failed to maximise home advantage as they were held to a goalless draw by Fulham. In a game of few clear cut chances both defences were on top, aided by some good goalkeeping at both ends of the pitch. On the back of a surprise defeat to Blackburn in midweek at least the Magpies added another point to their tally for the season. One of the highlights of the day came with the news that young striker Andy Carroll had received his maiden call-up to the senior England squad.

Newcastle’s lack of invention when playing at home was evident on Saturday as they struggled to create openings against a well-drilled Fulham side. Without the suspended Joey Barton and the injured Hatem Ben Arfa they were missing two of the most creative players. Barton has been responsible for a lot of Carroll’s goals of late but his spark down the right flank was missing due to an unnecessary moment of madness. His replacement Danny Guthrie did not do much wrong without making much of a telling contribution on the game. On the opposite flank Jonas Gutierrez again showed his frustrating knack of failing to produce a final delivery when it counts.

With Shola Ameobi ruled out with injury Peter Lovenkrands was restored to the team to make a rare start. Unfortunately for Newcastle most of their best chances in the air in dangerous positions fell to Lovenkrands instead of the bigger aerial threat of Carroll. At times the Dane showed his lack of game time by lacking sharpness when getting into dangerous positions. With Carroll starved of good service some of his best chances came when attempting to shoot from long distance. However he still did enough to pose Newcastle’s greatest threat going forward. Carroll also received the backing of Fulham manager and former international striker Mark Hughes for an international call-up. He said: “He’s a difficult player to deal with and if he gets the right service, which on occasions he has had this season, then he’s a real threat and you have to acknowledge that.”

The news of Carroll’s first England call-up came on Saturday evening and hardly comes as a surprise after an impressive start to the season. So far Carroll has scored seven goals in the Premier League including a memorable hat-trick against Aston Villa. His ability to lead the line against top class defenders has been key to a good start to life in the top division by the Magpies. His manager Chris Hughton said after the game: “He is very different to most other strikers and he couldn’t have done any more this season to stake a claim (for England).” However a groin injury picked up against Fulham has threatened to prevent him receiving his first international cap. He is to be assessed by the England medical staff with West Ham’s Carlton Cole called up as a precaution.

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