Carroll stakes claim for England berth

Updated: 30 March 2011 12:07 IST

Andy Carroll staked his claim for a regular place in the England team as the Liverpool striker scored his first international goal in a 1-1 friendly draw with Ghana at Wembley on Tuesday.

Carroll stakes claim for England berth

London:

Andy Carroll staked his claim for a regular place in the England team as the Liverpool striker scored his first international goal in a 1-1 friendly draw with Ghana at Wembley on Tuesday.

Carroll's only previous England outing had been something of a damp squib as he was substituted after a mediocre performance in November's friendly defeat against France.

The 22-year-old has yet to score in four appearances for Liverpool after missing two months due to injury and he took distinctly short of match fitness in his last match at Sunderland before joining up with England.

Capello felt he still wasn't fit enough to start in Saturday's 2-0 win over Wales, but he was keen to get Carroll involved against Ghana because he feels he has the ability to replace Peter Crouch as England's premier targetman.

He seized his chance with the kind of emphatic finish that has made him such a sensation in the Premier League this season.

Although Darren Bent has scored in each of his last three England appearances, Carroll has now given Capello another option to play the central role in his three-man forward line in the Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland in June.

There were a few signs of rust as Carroll was let down by a woeful first touch when he tried to accelerate onto Jack Wilshere's pass down the left channel.

When he headed tamely wide from a corner midway through the half it looked like it might be a night of frustration for the burly forward, who had been well marshalled by Ghana defenders John Mensah and Isaac Vorsah.

It didn't help that he was starved of decent service from the flanks and barely had a single cross to attack before being taken off in the 59th minute.

But Carroll has never lacked for confidence or determination and he was in the right place at the right time in the 43rd minute.

As Stewart Downing tried to cushion Ashley Young's floated pass, Carroll, perfectly positioned just off his marker, found space to lash a fine first-time finish past Richard Kingson with his left foot.

It was exactly the sort of sudden burst of brilliance that persuaded Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish to pay a club record £35 million for Carroll on the final day of the January transfer window.

Capello is also a big fan of Carroll's, but he is well aware that the striker, who scored 11 times for Newcastle this season, has an unfortunate ability to attract the wrong type of publicity.

Carroll was bailed to live with Newcastle captain Kevin Nolan last year after appearing in court charged with assaulting an ex-girlfriend.

Carroll was also reported to have broken team-mate Steven Taylor's jaw during a training ground row last season and was fined £1,000 in October after a nightclub row.

It is hardly surprising that a player who admitted on his arrival at Liverpool that he "likes a beer or two" should find himself in a few ugly scrapes.

Capello had already responded by telling Carroll to clean up his act in a meeting last year and he used his press conference before the Ghana match to issue another warning about his drinking habits.

But if Carroll can continue to produce moments of match-winning magic like this he should stay in the headlines for the right reasons.

Topics : Football Australia West Indies England John Terry Andrew Carroll
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