The most expensive English player ever. The eighth most expensive transfer of all time. Second most expensive striker in world football. All three are true facts, but the name that would jump to mind is not that of Geordie lad, Andy Carroll. His future thrown into doubt after news was revealed on Sunday evening that he was not part of Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers plans for the new campaign. News shortly circulated after that former club Newcastle had made an offer to take him back to the North East on a season-long-loan deal with an option to buy.
Brendan Rodgers philosophy of attractive football brings with it, its own requirements. Stereotypically, those involved have to be small, nimble and agile, tactically aware and technically good with the ball at their feet. Not really attributes that Andy Carroll is renowned for, but are those found in Liverpool’s latest recruit – Fabio Borini; Rodgers clearly setting out his stall for the forthcoming season.
With the drip-drip-drip method of passing involved in the ‘tiki-taka’ style utilizing only one striker at the sharp end of the field, this striker needs to possess the nimbleness and willingness to run beyond the final line of defence, to create space for the midfielders behind to provide the danger. Luis Suarez fits this bill perfectly and with Fabio Borini drafted in as cover – Andy Carroll finds himself being ushered out to the Anfield shop window.
After just 42 displays in a one-and-a-half season injury plagued spell, is there the possibility that we have seen the last of Andy Carroll in the famous red top?
Yes, there is the very real prospect that Carroll will find greener pastures outside of Merseyside. It is not down to his lack of ability, as at times, it is clearly without doubt that the lad has talent; it is however, down to the system portrayed by said club, Liverpool who, perhaps not recently, have been dubbed with the pass and move style, reinforced by the hiring of Brendan Rodgers. Andy Carroll proved to be such a huge hit on Tyneside on his debut Premier League campaign due Newcastle’s way of using him as a target man – the vocal point in attack, who would provide knock-downs for midfielders and wingers alike as well as using his strength and tall build to hold the ball up while waiting for support.
So where would Andy Carroll fit into the ‘tiki-taka’ attitude? Very few places would be the most obvious answer. Sides that utilize this method, the Barcelona’s, Spain’s and Swansea’s of this world; employ a forward who likes to drop deep and dictate play from more of an attacking midfield role rather than on the last man as is traditional – Spain notably using Cesc Fabragas for this role during their Euro 2012 triumph. Suarez often showed glimpses of this last season, and with a little tweaking, he could prove to be Rodgers first name on the team sheet. Swansea being the supposed odd one out due to Danny Graham’s involvement; at 6ft 1in, he is not particularly nimble however he makes up for it in his excellent footballing ability with the ball at his feet, something that currently evades Carroll’s abilities at this point.
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