West Ham United have endured an up-and-down start to the new season, with the 3-1 win over Liverpool an obvious high, and the 3-1 loss to Southampton an equally obvious low. Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia flashed the ability to be a potent strike force against Liverpool, whilst Mauro Zarate also impressed earlier in the season when the Hammers beat Crystal Palace.
The form of those three new signings means that Andy Carroll has become something of a forgotten figure at Upton Park. The England international joined the Hammers permanently last summer for £15m after failing at Liverpool, and he was seen as a key part of Sam Allardyce's direct style of football.
Carroll's aerial ability can be matched by few players in the Premier League, but the 25-year-old made just 16 appearances last season as his season was curtailed by injuries, and he's been ruled out so far this season too.
Now though, the former Newcastle United target man is running again, and has vowed to repay the faith shown in him by Hammers fans when he makes his return.
"I don’t feel I’ve let them down because, obviously, it’s an injury that I couldn’t have helped," Carroll said. "I’ve done it in training and in a game. It’s an injury I don’t want and obviously no one at the club wants."
"I do want to be back out there, repaying the faith they put in me. I don’t really care what people say. I know I’ve had problems. I’m not hiding away from that. Hopefully, this is the last one, and I get it out of the way. I just want to get back playing football."
With the form of Sakho, Valencia and Zarate means it will be hard for Carroll to immediately regain his place in the starting line-up, but he remains confident that once he is fit, he will be in Allardyce's first choice XI.
"When I’m on form and playing well I can get in the starting line-up," Carroll added. "When you’ve got a big team and a good squad like we’ve got now, that’s a good thing to have, to fight for your place and not expect it"
"I’m just dying to be back out there and involved, even just in training. I’m getting a lot closer now, I can see light at the end of the tunnel and I’ll be out there soon. But football and training, that’s different.
"It’s only been two months since the ankle injury so everything is going well. Running at this stage is earlier than expected."