Born-again Carroll lays down claim to England No 9 shirt
Andy Carroll is the leading candidate to spearhead England's attack at Euro 2012 after Danny Welbeck limped out of training at the Etihad Stadium yesterday. Welbeck has been struggling with an ankle problem and was unable to join in a practice match dominated by Carroll.
Wayne Rooney returns from suspension for England's third game of the tournament, against Ukraine, but Roy Hodgson must find the right centre-forward against France and Sweden. Carroll's strong end to the season, particularly his bullying of John Terry at Wembley and Anfield, has been noted by Hodgson.
Carroll's stellar performance in training at the Etihad yesterday was unmissable for England's coaching staff as Gary Neville, filling in as an emergency centre-back, was trying to mark him. Carroll's strengths are well known to Hodgson's captain Steven Gerrard, who is expected to operate in an advanced midfield position at the Euros.
Carroll bulldozed through Joleon Lescott in reaching a cross from Ashley Young. "Andy Carroll is a threat in any game,'' said Lescott. "I'm sure his confidence is high going into the tournament. Andy's always a handful to play against, but when his confidence is high it's even worse."
Welbeck started training, but soon moved to the sidelines for a low-key workout and then headed down the tunnel.
"Obviously Danny hurt his ankle and did it against us,'' added Lescott of the Manchester United striker's injury in the derby match. "I am not sure how far he is away from playing or training. If he picks Andy, Jermain (Defoe), obviously they are all international players, they are in the squad for a reason and they can cause a different threat."
If Welbeck's ankle fails to improve, Hodgson has until Tuesday to replace him, most probably with Daniel Sturridge, who is on the standby list. Three other members of that group, Phil Jagielka, Martin Kelly and Jordan Henderson, were involved in training yesterday.
Henderson has been drafted in as fears remain over Scott Parker's Achilles. The Spurs man trained, but if he struggles against Norway, then Henderson may travel to the Euros unless Hodgson calls on Michael Carrick. (© Daily Telegraph, London)