Andy Carroll needs to use West Ham's injury crisis as last chance to convince Roy Hodgson to take a gamble on him

Carroll England

The striker is probably well down the pecking order for a place at Euro 2016, but now has a chance to prove himself.

While West Ham United's current injury problems may worry a lot of fans that had become optimistic about Slaven Bilic's side's chances of doing something special this season, one Hammer has got to look at the coming weeks as a real opportunity for him personally.

With Enner Valencia out until the end of the year (according to the London Evening Standard), and Diafra Sakho sidelined for three months (as reported by BBC Sport), Andy Carroll has got to look at West Ham's upcoming games as his best chance to cement a place in Bilic's side, and perhaps, his last chance to prove to Roy Hodgson that he deserves to be in England's squad for the European Championships next summer.

The first issue Carroll must address is his injury record, which will not give Hodgson much confidence about his chances of getting through at least three matches in quick succession, and perhaps more if England get through the group stage. 

With his two biggest rivals for a place in Bilic's squad out, and the Hammers facing four games in just short of two weeks around the turn of the year, Carroll may just be able to do enough to convince Hodgson that he has turned a corner regarding his fitness.

However, with the likes of Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane scoring with regularity so far this season, proving his fitness will not be enough on its own to earn Carroll - who has nine caps for his country - a way back for the Three Lions. 

His return of one goal from nine appearances is nowhere near good enough. However, he has started just four games in the top flight. And as Vardy proved, a great run in front of goal can take you right into the mix to be considered, especially with major injury concerns over Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge.

While Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Theo Walcott arguably deserve to take four of the striker spots in Hodgson's squad - and will thus, most likely start ahead of a potential fifth inclusion - the prolonged absence of the Arsenal and Liverpool men may mean that the England boss is forced to take a risk on someone else.

Carroll has not been prolific. However, he brings a different option to the other four which would allow England to go more direct if the situation required.

That change in style would not be difficult to execute, and would not require any changes of personnel to accommodate Carroll, as Hodgson already has a cluster of wingers, and full-backs, who are just as willing to throw crosses into the box as they are cutting inside and creating opportunities of their own. 

There is no doubt that Hodgson would face some criticism if the squad was announced today and Andy Carroll was included. But West Ham's injury problems give the former Newcastle forward the chance to show what he could bring, and leave Hodgson in a position from which the England boss could only receive criticism if he decided to leave him out. 

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