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English Premier League

Andy Carroll….. Overrated or Overpriced?



Andy Carroll, at the age of 24 is seen by many football fans across the nation to be overrated. Is he really overrated?…. or, has he just been overpriced?

Andy Carroll was a promising young player at his home club of Newcastle United. Carroll was signed by Premier League side Liverpool for a huge fee of £35 million on the 31st of January 2011, making Carroll the eighth most expensive player in the world at the time. This transfer fee grabbed many headlines and placed the spotlight firmly on Liverpool’s new wonder-kid. Upon Carroll’s departure from Tyneside, Alan Shearer stated that Carroll was “a huge loss” to the club, a clear indication as to how highly thought of Carroll was at Newcastle. Carroll was given the number 9 shirt at Liverpool, previously worn by Fernando Torres who left the club at the same time in which Carroll joined. Torres left Liverpool for a record transfer fee of £50 million to move to rivals Chelsea. Carroll was seen by then Liverpool boss, Kenny Dalglish as a replacement to Torres along with fellow new signing Luis Suarez. It took Carroll until the 11th of April to finally get his name on the score sheet at Liverpool, Carroll bagged a highly impressive double against Manchester City. Former Liverpool striker Peter Crouch, like Carroll did not have an instant impact for Liverpool in terms of scoring goals, once Crouch finally did score his first goal for the Merseyside club, he proceeded to go on an impressive goalscoring run , many fans expected Carroll to emulate Crouch’s success however, Carroll failed to score another goal that season.

The following season, Carroll turned in a series of lacklustre performances for Liverpool. Arguably his greatest moment was in the semi-final of the FA Cup in which Carroll scored a dramatic last-gasp winner against Liverpool’s fierce rivals Everton, Liverpool player Jamie Carragher rather jokingly stated that Carroll’s goal was “worth the £35million itself”. This brief moment of success, accompanied by Liverpool’s Capital One Cup win were Carroll’s only real highlights of the 2011/2012 season. By the end of the 2011/2012 season, Carroll’s stay at Liverpool looked to be over as he signed for West Ham United on a season-long loan deal with the view of the deal becoming permanent. Carroll scored 6 goals in 44 appearances for Liverpool. Thus, he left Anfield on a particularly sour note as the fans placed a lot of blame on his poor performances as a key reason as to why Liverpool performed below expectations throughout the season.

Take the story of Andy Carroll back a number of years, he made his first-team debut with Newcastle at the tender age of 17 on the 2nd of November 2006 in the UEFA Cup against Palermo making him the youngest player to represent Newcastle in european football, a title he is very proud of as he is a passionate Newcastle fan. In 2007, Carroll scored his first senior goal against Italian giants Juventus, after the match, legendary Juventus and Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon stated that Carroll had “a big future” a compliment in anyones mind within the world of football. Newcastle were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2008/2009 season, this provided the catalyst for many first-team players such as ; Michael Owen, Obafemi Martins and Mark Viduka to leave Newcastle, this gave Carroll his first real opportunity to play for the Newcastle first-team on a regular basis. Carroll finished the 2009/2010 season with 17 league goals, finishing as Newcastle’s top goal-scorer. Andy Carroll, in the 2009/2010 season showed the potential of becoming a world-class target man, he possessed vital traits ; he had a fierce shot, he could bring his teammates into the game with his great heading ability and used his huge 6ft 3inch frame to protect the ball in key areas of the park. Newcastle legend Kevin Keegan claimed that Carroll was “in the top three headers of a ball I have ever seen” showing that throughout the season, Carroll had displayed the traits of a formidable player.

The start of the 2010/2011 season began with Newcastle in the Premier Division, Carroll was hailed by the Tyneside faithful as a key member of the team in Newcastle’s promotion back to the ‘big league’. Carroll was given the number 9 shirt at Newcastle which is of extreme importance to the Newcastle fans as it was previously worn by club legends Jackie Milburn and Alan Shearer. Carroll started the season brightly by scoring his first hat-trick in the 6-0 demolition of Aston Villa. Only a matter of weeks after captaining Newcastle for the first time, Carroll signed a 5 year contract with Newcastle in October 2010, when signing for the club he was regarded by managing director Derek Llambias to be “the future of the club”.

On the 31st Of January 2011, Carroll signed for Liverpool for £35 million.

During his season-long loan at West Ham United Carroll played exceptionally well. He and Kevin Nolan produced a formidable partnership. Carroll played so well, scoring 7 goals in 24 appearances, that Hammers boss Sam Allardyce signed Carroll for a fee of £15 million.

Carroll’s move from Anfield to Upton Park has helped him rejuvenate his career as he is now playing in a side who rely more on his physical presence similarly to the way in which Newcastle did.

Andy Carroll’s short career has sparked much debate with many believing that he isn’t a player of Premier League quality and thus overrated.  This argument has been met by opposition who believe that Liverpool’s purchase of Carroll was no more than a panic buy, a desperate bid to replace their star-striker Fernando Torres. They also believe that Carroll was forced into the spotlight without the required current ability or mental strength to cope with the 35 million price tag attached to him, believing that Carroll was overpriced.

So, Andy Carroll, simply overrated? Or was he overpriced by Liverpool?


Jack Wilshere’s injury shows why Arsenal shouldn’t renew his contract

The 26-year-old has been struck down by yet another injury.

Jake Jackman



Photo: Getty Images

Jack Wilshere will be pleased with the progress that he has made since returning to Arsenal from his loan spell at Bournemouth.

He was initially nothing more than a squad player that was out in the cold at international level too, but the midfielder worked hard to gain more game-time in North London.

Across all competitions, he has played more than 30 matches and his form earned him a call-up to the England squad.

It looked like he was getting a once-promising career back on track, but almost like clockwork, he has suffered an injury to set him back once again.

Gareth Southgate confirmed that he wouldn’t be travelling to the Netherlands for Friday’s match and the quotes were reported by Sky Sports.

“It is not a specific injury and over time they flare up and they need to settle down over a couple of days.

“We are hopeful it will settle down pretty quickly. It’s an ongoing problem and it’s not something new for him. He’s very disappointed not to be involved in the game.

“He’s trained well though but if you think about the journey he’s had in the last two years and his big injuries then he’s progressing really well.”

Although it is encouraging that it isn’t a serious injury, it is a reminder that Jack Wilshere remains a risk for both club and country.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It is difficult to build a team around a player that is susceptible to miss matches and the quote from Southgate is a worry as he refers to an ongoing problem.

Arsenal have had a difficult campaign and they will be planning a rebuild over the next 48 months as they transition away from the Arsene Wenger era.

They will have to make tough decisions on many players at the club and Wilshere’s future will be brought into focus over the next few weeks as his contract expires at the end of the season.

There have been numerous reports regarding contract talks between the two parties and there is hesitancy on both sides.

This latest injury suffered by Wilshere and the comments from Southgate referring to an ongoing problem show why it is Arsenal who need to end this association.

Wilshere can’t be relied on to stay fit and to feature prominently in a busy schedule. Arsenal will have ambitions of challenging at the very top of the game and will likely be involved in European competition every season. They need to have a squad of players that are reliable and the 26-year-old isn’t that.

Aside from that, Wilshere represents what Arsenal have become over the last decade. He is a player that had a lot of potential, but he has failed to fulfil it and been very inconsistent at the highest level. Of course, he isn’t to blame for the club’s problems, but he is also unlikely to offer the solutions.

This season has been a nice farewell campaign for him. It would have been sad if his Gunners’ career had ended after being shipped out on loan to Bournemouth.

He has returned to earn some of his credibility back, but the club need to move on and progress if they are to get back to the top of the English game.

A lot of contentious decisions will need to be made and the first should be the release of Jack Wilshere this summer.

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Manchester United

Why Jose Mourinho’s treatment of Luke Shaw has crossed the line

The Portuguese manager has been highly critical of Luke Shaw this season.

Rob Meech



Luke Shaw
Photo: Getty Images

The fractious relationship between Jose Mourinho and Luke Shaw plumbed new depths when the left-back was substituted at half-time in Manchester United’s FA Cup victory over Brighton & Hove Albion. The 22-year-old had been handed a rare opportunity to impress at Old Trafford but lasted only 45 minutes.

Speaking about Shaw in his post-match interview, Mourinho said: “Luke, in the first half, every time they came in his corridor, the cross came in and a dangerous situation was coming. I was not happy with his performance.”

The differences between the pair now appear to be irreconcilable. Shaw, who was signed by Louis van Gaal in the summer of 2014, has been used sparingly by Mourinho. The former Southampton starlet has made just 18 Premier League appearances under the Portuguese in a career that has been blighted by injuries.

Being substituted at half-time is almost as embarrassing as it gets for a player and Shaw’s mood will not have improved after being publicly criticised by his manager. It’s certainly not the first time Mourinho has chosen to talk candidly to the media about his concerns with the 22-year-old.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Some players require an arm around the shoulder to perform at their peak, while for others it takes a kick up the backside. Mourinho, opting for the latter, does nothing without reason and has clearly tried to spark a reaction from Shaw, without success.

From being one of English football’s brightest prospects after making his World Cup debut aged just 18, Shaw, who has seven England caps to his name, is in danger of not fulfilling the potential that convinced United to spend what was then a world-record fee for a teenager.

Mourinho’s tactic of singling out individuals who have not met his standards is in stark contrast to Sir Alex Ferguson, who never blamed his players in public. It has divided opinion among pundits, with Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier claiming the United manager is ‘destroying’ Shaw.

Mourinho is an expert at using smokescreens to distract from his side’s unconvincing performances. And this latest controversy has moved the narrative on from United’s shock Champions League exit at the hands of Sevilla.

(Photo by Lindsey Parnaby/Getty Images)

Tough love is one thing, but the sustained, public attack on Shaw is unacceptable. If Mourinho genuinely believes he is not good enough to represent United, then fair enough. But to continually vilify the youngster’s performances is a step too far and one that could irreparably damage Shaw’s confidence.

This is not to say that Shaw is a completely innocent bystander. Mourinho’s predecessor, Louis van Gaal, also questioned his desire and general conditioning when he joined United four years ago. Indeed, the Dutchman signed Shaw up to a tailored exercise regime in an effort to improve his fitness.

But while van Gaal’s treatment had the desired effect, Mourinho’s has done the opposite. Being publicly humiliated on a routine basis does neither party any favours.

In all likelihood, Shaw’s disappointing United career will come to an end this summer. A fresh start away from the toxicity under Mourinho is exactly what he needs.

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English Premier League

Keanan Bennetts has perfect opportunity to impress Mauricio Pochettino this week

The left-sided star has a chance to impress in first-team training during the international break.



Photo: Getty Images

With the international week in full flow, plenty of teams in the Premier League have seen their squads diminished by call-ups to national teams.

Tottenham Hotspur are one such side. Nonetheless, with most of the first-team squad away with their respective nations, work continues at Hotspur Way.

In order for Spurs to have a full complement in training, plenty of young talent needs to be pulled in to the ranks.

Mauricio Pochettino will, therefore,e get a chance to see some of his young players training with regular first-team players such as Fernando Llorente, Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

One player who will be training with the first-team this week is talented wide-man Keanan Bennetts, according to London Live.

The 19-year-old left-winger has been catching the eye for the club’s youth team in recent weeks, making the news after scoring a fantastic goal for the under-19s against Monaco in the UEFA Youth League last month.

Bennetts has also been attracting interest for his positional dexterity. The wide-man has played at left-back in recent times and it could be that is his future best position.

This week he will be up against some excellent players such as Lamela and Moura, who did not receive selection to the Argentina and Brazil national teams, respectively.

If he can prove himself with this calibre of player, Pochettino will have to take notice.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It is coming to a point in his Tottenham career when Bennetts has to make such an impact. The teenager is out of contract at Spurs in the summer and needs to ensure he is kept on for at least one more season.

Tottenham fans who follow the youth teams are certain he is deserving of such a chance. If he can show Pochettino what he is capable of this week, then a new deal will surely be in the pipeline for the talented wide-man.

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