£35m Liverpool flop fights for England World Cup place

Despite being derided at Liverpool for being a transfer disaster, West Ham's Andy Carroll is hoping to play for England in the World Cup - should he?

With the battle for places in Roy Hodgson's England squad set to hot up, West Ham United's Andy Carroll said that he hopes to book his seat on the plane to Brazil next summer for the World Cup, but knows he must get himself fit first.

The 24-year-old former Newcastle striker has been nursing a heel injury for around six months, but could be ready to return to action for Sam Allardyce's side – and he already has his eyes on playing in the World Cup.

"The lads did a great job and it's brilliant that England will be in Brazil," Carroll told the Daily Mail

"It also gives me something to aim at and, once I get back playing, I might have a chance of breaking back into the squad.

"The first objective, of course, is to get back playing well for West Ham. I want to do that because they've been so supportive but if England follows, that would be good, too."

His loan spell with the Hammers led to a £15m permanent switch to Upton Park, ending his hell at Liverpool. Unable to justify the gaudy £35m transfer fee paid by Kenny Dalglish, Carroll was ultimately shipped out of Anfield once Brendan Rodgers took over, with the lanky target man unlikely to fit in with Rodgers' style of football.

The move to West Ham has paid dividends, with Carroll displaying that he is a perfect fit for Allardyce's more direct approach, and capped off a decent season with seven goals for the Hammers, whilst he also missed time with a hamstring injury shortly after signing.

The chances of Carroll making a late push for the World Cup squad are actually fairly good. Carroll impressed at Euro 2012 under Hodgson, scoring a fantastic header against Sweden, and there isn't much competition at West Ham, with Modibo Maiga and Mladen Petric offering nowhere near as much as Carroll does.

With Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge offering England pace and energy up front, they lack a true target man, despite using Southampton's Rickie Lambert against Scotland, Moldova and Ukraine.

Carroll's main competition for a place with England is likely to be Tottenham's Jermain Defoe, who isn't guaranteed first team football since the arrival of Roberto Soldado at White Hart Lane, or it could come down to a three-way-fight including Lambert too if he continues to impress.

With his place in Allardyce's team virtually cemented upon his return, Carroll now has the chance to surpass the limited competition, offering England something different to their current crop of forwards.

Sturridge appears to be entrenched as the first choice striker, given his form for Liverpool, but Carroll can be a game changer with his aerial ability, should England be chasing the game, and should therefore be taken to the World Cup instead of Defoe, and his showings at the past tournament showed how important he can be, whereas Lambert lacks that on his CV.

Now he just needs to get fit...

images: © dannymol, © andrew_j_w

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