Partying days are behind me, insists resurgent Carroll
Liverpool striker Andy Carroll says he has consigned his boozy image to history and is confident his winning goal against Everton in the FA Cup semi-final will reignite his career.
The 23-year-old striker's early months at Anfield were overshadowed by fitness problems and lack of form, which many attributed to a partying lifestyle he brought with him from Newcastle.
But Carroll insists that is all behind him and that he now spends his spare time at home watching TV with his girlfriend.
"My past is my past," said Carroll. "I feel when I came to Liverpool I changed my lifestyle and everything about it and settled down. I have my girlfriend with me at home and I love it here.
"I'll go down the street and people will say to me, 'Oh, you were in the boozer last week' but it is just rumours going around. I just laugh it off. I don't go out at all.
"I know what people say is not true, my family knows it's not true and the club knows it's not true so that is all that matters.
"All I do now is sit in the house with my girlfriend, chill out and watch movies. I'm on the X-Box or I'll watch TV with my girlfriend.
"When I signed I wasn't fit. I had a knee injury and kept on getting niggles. I'd play one game and then have to drop out again. I feel great now and fully fit.
"I have been training every day and I haven't missed a training session. I feel good in myself."
A dramatic change in form was required to spare Carroll the ignominy of a cut-price sale this summer and he feels he is starting to show his true value.
"I am a fighter. I am determined to do well here and that's why I came," he said. "I love it here and I want to stay. I want to play for Liverpool. I didn't come here to sit on the bench, I came to play games.
The victory over Everton puts Liverpool in sight of a Carling Cup and FA Cup double, provided they beat Chelsea on May 5 in a final -- it was confirmed yesterday -- which will kick off at 5.15.
"We have won one final and hopefully we can win another one," said Carroll. "I always knew that I could do it here and I needed the players around me to help me as well. I feel like we are all coming together now and helping each other a lot more, they're helping me anyway.
Carroll, who also scored Liverpool's winner at Blackburn last week, says the key to him performing to the level of a £35m striker is starting games on a more consistent basis.
"When you play regularly you get confident and you get into the stride of things and I feel I am doing that now," he said.
"When you haven't been playing, you get low on confidence. I think that is the same with every player. I am confident in myself that if I am playing games I will score goals and put myself about. I cannot really do that if I am on the bench and coming on in the last 10 minutes of games.
"It has just been difficult in terms of not playing really. I feel I have given it my best shot and what I want is to start games and put myself about like I know I can." (© Daily Telegraph, London)