Carragher believes Carroll has got it all
Jamie Carragher is convinced Andy Carroll is destined to be England's premier frontman for the next decade, despite the £35m striker's lack of goals since he moved to Liverpool.
The 22-year-old found the start of his Anfield career delayed by a month thanks to a thigh injury and, since making his debut as a late substitute against Manchester United on March 6, has struggled to produce the sort of form which enabled him to score 11 times in just 19 games for Newcastle before Christmas.
Though Carragher is quick to admit there is no point in a grizzled defender giving Carroll technical tips, his assessment of his new team-mate's potential -- from a man who has played alongside Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen and Fernando Torres -- proves nobody at Anfield is worried by the club record signing's somewhat slow start.
"Andy has done fantastically well since he has come here," Carragher said. "But he is still finding his feet. He has just come back from injury and I am sure him and (Luis) Suarez will be a fantastic combination.
"Andy has got all the attributes you need to be a top centre-forward. I can't advise him how to do that, of course, but if I can help him a little bit along the way, along with the coaching staff, the manager and all the other players, then yes I will. Now he is in the England squad, I think he can establish himself as the country's No 9 for the next decade. We will be looking for him to do that for Liverpool."
Carragher is well aware, though, that to do so Carroll will need to keep his temper in check under a sustained onslaught of physical intimidation from opposing centre-backs.
The striker was targeted by West Brom's defence throughout Liverpool's 2-1 defeat at the Hawthorns last week and Carragher -- his captain in the absence of Steven Gerrard, who this weekend underwent a second operation on his injured groin that will rule him out for the rest of the season -- admitted he had to calm Carroll down after picking up a booking.
"He was very unfortunate," said the 33-year-old. "If anyone should have been booked, it should have been a (West Brom) defender for the amount of whacks Andy took. I had to tell him to calm down."
City arrive at Anfield tonight having edged clear of Tottenham in the race for the final Champions League qualification spot this season and goalkeeper Joe Hart admits Roberto Mancini's team must grasp the opportunity to finish in the top four.
"I don't see the point in us being a work in progress," Hart said. "None of the lads are thinking 'whatever happens this season, we'll give it a real go next season'. We're really focused on Monday at Liverpool.
"It's a huge game for the club, it's a huge game for us as players and we want to really push on now and try to claim that third or fourth spot. Our job is not to silence the critics. It's to get that Champions League place. Internally, we just know we need to win." (© Daily Telegraph, London)
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