The striker spent the best part of nine months out of action following a left knee injury suffered last January, following further setbacks and delays in his return to full fitness.
However, since he began training with the first-team squad again, Carroll has been working extremely hard and his efforts paid off as he scored the winner during his side’s 2-1 win over Chelsea last time out.
“We are still a bit cautious because of the record he has. But now we have to stop him from training because he loves it,” the Croatian boss explained.
“Like yesterday we had to tell him, ‘OK, for the last bit you rest or skip’. For a big lad, when he trains he goes in 100 per cent, so sometimes we have to stop him.”
“He’s in a good position to become less injured — or injury-free. His quality was never an issue because when he’s fit he is capable of everything.”
Playing it safe:
Following such a lengthy layoff, it’s understandable how Carroll must be itching for a first start in nine months, though he must be careful not to push himself beyond his limits.
The dominant centre-forward is a key player in East London, therefore he will get opportunities when the time is right, but pushing him too soon could cause further problems down the line.
The Hammers are well positioned in the table and are enjoying a fine run of form under Bilic, diminishing the need to overplay Carroll’s return from injury and prompt a potential relapse.