Saturday, 29 January 2011

Carroll's no King of White Hart Lane

The Sun seems convinced this morning that we've bid £25m for Newcastle's Andy Carroll.

I do hope we haven't. And if we have I do hope it gets rejected. I'm not remotely convinced by Carroll.*

Last year I joked/predicted to a couple of friends that some mug team would end up spending £20m+ on Carroll and that it would go down as a monumental mistake. Step forward... Tottenham Hotspur.

He's tall, yep, got that. Okay, he's not just tall, because being tall doesn't necessarily mean being good in the air, does it Peter?

So, fair enough, he's good in the air. But, as far as I can see, he's got fuck all else.

He seems clumsy and laboured with the ball at his feet, he doesn't have pace, or tricks, or a range of passing or much awareness of what's around him. He's also a liability when he receives a pass with any sort of zip.

Look at the way Luka, or VdV or even Defoe take a pass; a combination of touch and movement takes them away from trouble and opens up a range of options. Carroll would need to take out temporary restraining orders on the opposition's entire back for in order to take a sharp flat pass with any confidence.

Which means he wouldn't suit our style of play - or at least the way we want to play, pinging it around, retaining possession, probing, finding passes and angles that break down sides who come to defend and are happy with long diagonals to a big lump looking to cause chaos.

Yes we can look good going down the wings and we should be able to supply decent crosses, but at speed, with balls intended for quick centre forwards making smart runs or midfielders arriving on the edge of the box. We don't (shouldn't) just hang it up at the back post.

He may be slightly better than Crouch, although he'll never prompt the phrase 'good touch for a big man' with the same regularity that Lurkio does. He's certainly much younger and so, yes, has potential. No real marked, immediate improvement, though.

Pav's a far sharper and more skillful striker. He doesn't seem to be part of Harry's plans, admittedly, but already this season he's scored a couple of goals which Carroll simply isn't - and never will be - capable of scoring.

Defoe's season has stuttered and spluttered because of injuries and suspensions, but he's quicker, a better finisher and has more natural striker's instincts (he's selfish).

I'm not denying we have problems up front. We absolutely do. And the only one of those three I'd definitely keep is Jermain.

But Carroll's not the answer. And if Levy and Redknapp think he is, then they haven't really understood the question.

Oh, and he does seem a right twat.

* Obviously there's an element of 'We never score from corners' in all this. You know, when we really need a goal, we get a corner, and you say loudly and wearily, "We never score from corners". Only now that's such a tired tactic that you have to say "I always say 'We never score from corners' in the hope that somehow fate will intervene and give us a goal to prove me wrong, but it never works". And by the time you've said that, we've taken the corner, and failed to clear the man at the near post.

So, yeah, let's break our transfer record, let's bring in a young British centre forward and let's hope Andy Carroll proves me hopelessly, stupidly wrong. He may even score from corners.

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