Praised for his physicality and ability to lead the line, Carroll scored two headers, before assisting West Ham’s third goal of the game by flicking a long pass onto Diafra Sakho - who finished the move with ease.
The English forward has enjoyed an extended run in the first-team due to Sakho’s absence through injury, and, although he only recently returned from injury himself, Carroll now looks to be playing at full capacity, and he has a real claim to retain his starting place this weekend, with the Hammers facing Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. Enner Valencia has struggled in recent weeks, and the Carroll-Sakho partnership looks to have started in style, making the duo definite starters in Sam Allardyce’s side.
However, the doubt still remains with Carroll about his fitness, and his intense style of physical play could see him sent to the medical room once again this season. The 25-year-old made just 15 appearances at the Boleyn Ground last term due to an injury, and he missed the opening of this campaign having suffered ankle ligament damage during the Irons pre-season tour of New Zealand.
If Carroll can remain match fit and enjoy a full season of football, he could return to the heights many expected he would reach as a promising youngster, and Allardyce believes that the forward must learn to control himself on the pitch for the good of his career.
Writing in the Standard, Allardyce said: “Andy Carroll rightly took the headlines with his two goals and - going forward - both we and he himself have to manage his physicality carefully.
“I have said I want him to be careful with the way he goes in at times but ultimately it will be Andy who makes that decision.
“As a young defender, I used to challenge for balls I was never going to win. Then, smash, bang, wallop - I would have a broken nose or a gashed head.
“Experience taught me to assess things more carefully. I would still shout “Sam’s up” to fool the striker but then drop off to try and win the flick-on.
“That’s how you learn, you need to retain the information and if Andy can do that, he’ll be his own best judge of what he can and can’t do.”
Carroll would be wise to listen to Allardyce’s advice, with a season of injury-free football giving him a real chance to claim back a place in the England international set-up.