Speaking to the official West Ham website, Slaven Bilic has assessed how Andy Carroll has performed this season after the striker has been on the receiving end of some criticism.
Bilic said: “He is trying hard in training and he’s played really well in the few games he’s had for us. He showed his class, and so far he’s showed it more as an impact player when he’s come on. He lifted our game, that’s why we brought him in of course, but also he needs to show it from the start. He’s got the quality, sometimes the players need a longer time to gel in completely and play like they did before the injury. We hope he’s going to do that now for us, if he plays of course.”
Carroll has played nine games in all competitions this season, scoring his only goal in the 2-1 victory over Chelsea.
He looks to have had a solid impact as a substitute, but in a starting role, the English forward has struggled.
The forward was especially poor against both Watford and Spurs, and Bilic has admitted that he wants to see Carroll start performing from the beginning of games, rather than simply being an impact substitute.
With Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho out injured, this weekend looks as if it will have to be the start of Carroll’s redemption as a starting striker, as the Hammers come up against Manchester United.
He will undoubtedly start over Nikica Jelavic as the lone forward in Bilic’s 4-2-3-1 system, and he needs to ensure that he puts in his best performance of the season if the Hammers are to pick up any points against the Red Devils.
There have been calls for Carroll to be sold when the January transfer window opens, but now could be the start of his rise to prominence as a key player under Bilic.