Slaven Bilic backs Andy Carroll for England but first injury-plagued striker must get back in West Ham team

Slaven Bilic has backed fit-again striker Andy Carroll to get in the England side again, but first he must win a place in the West Ham United team.

The big striker is taking the first tentative steps in his latest comeback from a long-term injury, playing about 90 minutes across three games since his return.

Carroll has been sidelined for eight months and is under pressure to resurrect a career that has so far been curtailed by a succession of injuries.

The former Newcastle United forward has been told by both Sam Allardyce, as reported by the Mirror, and new boss Bilic – quoted by the same paper – that he must alter his approach if he is to stay fit.

But despite not yet winning his place back in the Hammers first team as Diafra Sakho continues to be the preferred choice up front, Bilic says it is a no-brainer that a fit Carroll will make Roy Hodgson's England squad for Euro 2016.

"The England squad will come as a logical result if things are cured," Bilic said in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's trip to Sunderland, as reported by Sky Sports.

"First of all he has to stay away from injuries.

"Only with that can he be in a position to have a great season.

"The quality was never in doubt, the problem was fitness and without that you can't have form."

How do you fix a broken Carroll?

One of the main reasons Hammers fans love Carroll, and have shown such patience with him through all the injuries, is that committed, all-action approach.

Much like the dilemma that faced Wayne Rooney early in his career and a similar one currently facing Arsenal star Jack Wilshere, Carroll may have to adjust his style to stay fit.

His style is a throw back, but while it might win him admirers, it is also impacting his career.

Will adjusting style diminish his influence?

Another big factor is will trying to change that side of his game diminish his influence on the pitch?

Take the game last week against Norwich City, for example. On as a second half substitute, he was left in a heap after going thundering into a challenge.

Hearts were in mouths as the striker lay stricken, but he managed to carry on and finish the game.

While many may have seen Carroll as rather foolish to go rushing into a tackle so soon after returning from injury, he showed just how that brave all-action style is such an asset, too.

It was his committed, selfless challenge in the air with Norwich 'keeper John Ruddy in the last minute which set up teammate Cheikhou Kouyate for a late equaliser in the 2-2 draw.

Difficult balance for Bilic but West Ham must be focus

It is a difficult balance and one Bilic must try to get right if he is to get the best out of the target man.

Carroll has made just 27 appearances and scored seven goals in the two years since making his move to Upton Park from Liverpool permanent for a club record fee.

So surely his focus should be firmly fixed on regaining his place in the West Ham side before he even starts thinking about the Three Lions.

And that won't be easy. The Hammers strengthened significantly over the summer and Carroll faces competition from main man Sakho, Nikica Jelavic, Mauro Zarate and Enner Valencia.

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