Matthew Upson has told The Debate on Sky Sports (broadcast on 24th October 2017 from 10:00 pm) that Andy Carroll causes West Ham a problem due to the adjustment that the team have to make depending on whether he is available or not.
The Hammers have made a poor start to the season. After losing 3-0 at home to Brighton on Friday night, Slaven Bilic's men find themselves only outside the relegation zone in the Premier League on goal difference.
The Croatian appears to be coming under serious pressure currently. And Upson has suggested that part of the problem that Bilic has to contend with is the fact that West Ham have to play so differently when they are unable to call upon Carroll, who has been both injured and suspended already this term.
"I think it's difficult when you have a player like Andy Carroll as well who can bring so much to the team in terms of having an impact, but you can't seem to use him every week, because it's a huge adjustment to play with and without him," he told The Debate on Sky Sports (broadcast on 24th October 2017 from 10:00 pm).
"With him in the team and Hernandez and good wide players, they're going to cross the ball, they're going to cause anyone a problem. But when you can't put that together every week to get a rhythm and get those results going, it's stop-start."
It would appear that Upson's assessment may not be too far out when you consider the games that Carroll has played. The Irons have been able to use the 28-year-old five times this season, and are undefeated in the four games in which he has started.
The former Liverpool man has started both of their league wins this term, and was excellent in the victory over Huddersfield in September - so it would certainly appear that not having him in the squad is hurting Bilic's men.
And the West Ham boss may be hoping that his return can last long enough to remove a significant amount of the pressure that seems to be engulfing him right now.