Capello warns Carroll to make headlines for right reasons
ANDY CARROLL has made more court appearances than international appearances but tonight he has the chance to make a case for his footballing credentials.
In donning the England No 9 shirt for the first time, the lively lad from Newcastle takes on France with an admonishment from Fabio Capello ringing in his ears.
Whether one of English football's less cerebral characters heeds the Italian's advice remains to be seen. England's manager wants Carroll leading from the front, not the front pages.
Undeniably part of the Tyneside scenery, Carroll's certainly no Angel of the North. Assorted escapades, including a fine for common assault, a ruck with a team-mate and a reputation for refuelling, even prompted Capello to overlook Carroll for last month's Euro 2012 qualifier with Montenegro "because his behaviour was not okay".
"It was for everything,'' stressed Capello, sounding like a referee totting up offences. "He understands.''
But does he? Shortly after his spell in purdah, Carroll found himself the subject of an embarrassing story alleging a bender that finished in a fast-food outlet at 6.0 in the morning.
"I don't know about this,'' shrugged Capello. "What has he done? Look, a lot of people drink, no? This is a big chance for him, a big chance, to play with the seniors and to change his lifestyle.
"We picked him because he can improve after he's stayed with us. You have to help young people. We are helping him.''
Yesterday morning, Capello spoke to Carroll about his tactical duties against the French, essentially to attack crosses from Theo Walcott and James Milner or lay the ball back to Steven Gerrard, who has licence to break forward from a midfield anchored by Jordan Henderson and Gareth Barry.
Yesterday afternoon, Capello talked to Carroll about his private life, about the need to feature more as a cover story in 'World Soccer' than in the 'News of the World'.
"Everyone makes mistakes when they're young. He's really young -- 21. But he has to understand now he's in the senior team there will be journalists, photographers, everyone focusing on him.
"Life will be different. His behaviour has to be better."
As usual with England, if Carroll shines against France, all sins will be washed away in a torrent of gushing headlines.
Keen to end the nightclub-versus-country dispute, Capello emphasised Carroll's on-field characteristics. "I hope he plays the same quality of game he played against Arsenal. His movement was good, he attacked the space well, he was fantastic in the air.'' (© Daily Telegraph, London)
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