Former West Ham coach Teddy Sheringham admits he was shocked by Andy Carroll's quality

Former West Ham striker and coach Teddy Sheringham has admitted he was shocked at the quality of Andy Carroll, who is closing on a return to the first team.

Boyhood Hammer Sheringham scored 28 goals in 76 games as a player for the east Londoners and was made the club's attacking coach under Sam Allardyce last season.

When Big Sam departed, though, Sheringham had the management bug and was appointed the new boss of Stevenage.

His time at West Ham means he knows what Slaven Bilic's current strikers have to offer.

'Nicely surprised'

And he has admitted in an interview with that he got a 'nice surprise' when he saw Andy Carroll's ability first hand last season, as the 6ft 5 Geordie closes on his latest first-team return after injury.

"I was surprised about his qualities when I went there," the former England and Manchester United star told

"I can remember doing the first shooting session - and he’d already told me how good he was by the way - but I was nicely surprised at how decent his technique and quality was.

"He could definitely score a goal."

How striker light Bilic could do with him now

And oh how Bilic could do with him now as he heads into the new Premier League season away at likely title challengers Arsenal with just one recognised senior forward available in Diafra Sakho.

Many had tipped Bilic to offload Carroll this summer given the fact he likes to play a high pressing, attacking brand of football through the centre of the pitch, akin to Carroll's former boss Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool.

Linked with a move away but looks here to stay

Former club Newcastle United were heavily linked with a move for the England man by the likes of the Telegraph.

Whether the interest was real or not, Carroll's prolonged recovery from an injury sustained last season would have scuppered any potential sale.

But if he can get back fit within a month as new reports suggest (as per the Daily Mail) he will give his new manager a timely boost with Ecuadorian striker Enner Valencia out for at least three months through injury.

Sheringham's assessment of Carroll will give West Ham fans and the player confidence he can finally start to repay the money invested in him by the club's co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold.

But the proof will come if he can stay fit for an extended period because, in the two years since making his move to Upton Park permanent, Carroll has made just 27 appearances, scoring only seven goals.

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