Carroll unperturbed by great expectations
Published 03/02/2011 | 15:12
Liverpool's record signing Andy Carroll insists he is ready for the responsibility which comes with his massive transfer fee and inheriting the club's famous number nine shirt.
The 22-year-old completed a £35m move - the highest sum paid for a British player - on Monday and was immediately allocated Fernando Torres' old shirt number.
Nine is the number associated with the some of the club's goalscoring greats, worn by Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler before the Spaniard.
Carroll had a similarly difficult task at Newcastle, succeeding club legend Alan Shearer, but in moving to Anfield he will come under even more scrutiny because of his huge price tag.
The 6ft 3in striker has also had to deal with a number of controversies during his four-year career on Tyneside, one of which resulted in him being fined after admitting a charge of common assault.
However, Carroll insists his move to Merseyside allows him to focus on football.
"I feel I am ready. I have made the move now and I feel like I have settled down and know what I need to do and concentrate on my football," said the striker, currently sidelined with a thigh injury.
"It feels really like home now. I know it's only been three days but the welcome I've had from everyone, where I'm staying and at the training ground has just been great.
"Obviously Torres was a great player but I need to concentrate on my own game and play the football I know I can.
"It was a lot of money but I need to do what I have to do to prove the money was worth it.
"I have scored goals at Newcastle and that is what I want to bring here - we'll just have to wait and see.
"When I finally come out for my debut with the number nine shirt it will make me realise I am here to stay.
"Now the ambition is to win stuff and go places. Everyone believes we can do that.
"The club is going places, they are pushing on in Europe and I'm looking forward to getting back fit and playing."
Manager Kenny Dalglish has no qualms about the money club owners Fenway Sports Group spent on Carroll or the player's attitude.
The Scot even felt the need to spring to the striker's defence at a press conference to officially unveil him as a Liverpool player.
"I'd like to reassure Andy we are more upbeat about Andy coming than I think yourselves (the media) are because every question seems to have negativity in it," said the 59-year-old.
"We know he is a young boy and the price might be a bit more than what some people think it should be but then every single person in here has to justify their wages and their costs."
Dalglish felt that although Carroll may still be relatively raw as a footballer and have a few rough edges he was certain to be a hit with fans, who have had little time to mourn the loss of Kop idol Torres.
And in alluding to the player's chequered past the Reds boss felt Carroll had been judged too harshly on occasions.
"The character of a football player is very important but he is someone the players and supporters will take to," he said.
"His innocence is quite endearing. Growing up everyone is wise after the event but when you get older you realise some things you have done might not be correct.
"Everyone is the same, everyone has a story to tell, everyone wishes they had done something different.
"I think he will be endearing to the supporters because they will be able to relate to him; they understand him and his football.
"You also have to understand it is a difficult life for footballers to adjust to being in the limelight - going from being 16, 17 years of age to within three or four years being transferred for £35m.
"It is a huge change in your life. I am sure he will handle it very well.
'If he does have any problems he has all the help in the world here but he will be the first person to admit that he will help himself more than anyone else can."
Sat alongside Carroll and Dalglish was Liverpool's other deadline day signing Luis Suarez, who enjoyed a dream debut by scoring against Stoke last night just 17 minutes after coming off the bench.
"The two lads are young, fantastic footballers and Luis gave us an example of what we can expect to see," added Dalglish.