West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini said there are not too many players with Andy Carroll’s qualities after the Hammers beat Birmingham City 2-0 in the FA Cup third round.
Carroll and Marko Arnautovic both scored as West Ham were convincing 2-0 winners at the London Stadium on Saturday. Carroll, who has been out of action with an ankle injury he suffered in pre-season, returned to net his first goal in nine months.
Pellegrini says Carroll’s size, aerial ability and hunger to do well are putting him in good stead to earn more minutes in the starting 11. The Chilean manager spoke in his press conference, as quoted by West Ham’s official website.
He said: “If you review his game, he scored, his play was good and he missed another chance to score, he cleared two or three aerial duels in our box, so in the way he plays, he will return to be the player we know he can be.
“I never had any doubt Andy Carroll wants to stay here. He is happy here, he wants to play for the Club, he is happy in London and he doesn’t want to go anywhere. He wants to play like every player but he must be patient. When you come back from a long injury and you are not competing weekly, you have to be careful not to get another injury.
“That’s why we are giving him some amount of minutes every game. I think if he recovers his shape and continues working every day of the week without any injuries there are not too many players with his quality.”
Carroll has long been hindered by a number of injuries, most recently a recurring ankle/foot problem. However, he as returned to fitness now and will be hoping that the injury problems are behind him.
West Ham’s next game is against Arsenal this Saturday. Carroll will be hoping his unique ability will provide a real threat against an Arsenal side that are also struggling with their own injury problems.