Sky Sports pundit explains why this West Ham star makes Payet and Lanzini better

Tony Cottee

West Ham United have been an entirely different team since Andy Carroll's return to action.

Speaking live on Sky Sports' Gillette Soccer Saturday on December 31st, former Hammers striker Tony Cottee discussed the importance of Andy Carroll to not only the West Ham team as a whole, but also to how star men Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini perform.

The target man has spent the majority of the season on the sidelines with a variety of injuries, and it is no coincidence that Slaven Bilic's men struggled tremendously during his absence.

West Ham United's Andy Carroll celebrates scoring their fourth goalWest Ham United's Andy Carroll celebrates

Since he has come back into the West Ham first XI though, they have looked like a totally different side, and now seem to possess a real threat when going forward.

And Cottee, who spent two successful spells with the Hammers, highlighted the influence that the 27-year-old has on two of West Ham's most important players, when speaking on Sky Sports' Gillette Soccer Saturday:

"With the likes of Payet and Lanzini, when they have been been looking up they have had nothing to aim at, and now, with Carroll back, he provides such a great focal point for those kind of players."

West Ham United's Andy Carroll celebrates scoring their fourth goalWest Ham United's Andy Carroll celebrates 

West Ham fans will now be hoping that Carroll remains fit and healthy for the remainder of the campaign.

And if he can do that, there is no reason why the Hammers cannot force their way into the top half of the table during the second half of the season.

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