Belfast Telegraph

England would benefit from Carroll: Bilic

By Andy Sims

Slaven Bilic has told England boss Gareth Southgate that Andy Carroll would improve any team in the world. Carroll's stunning form since returning from injury, with four goals in his last four matches, has prompted talk of an international recall.

Southgate is monitoring the 28-year-old, whose last England appearance came in October 2012 in a World Cup qualifier against San Marino.

A constant stream of injury problems has meant Carroll has not been able to add to his nine caps since joining West Ham permanently.

But with Southgate weighing up his options ahead of next month's fixtures against Germany and Lithuania, the former Newcastle and Liverpool frontman will surely be in the reckoning.

West Ham manager Bilic said: "He is a top player. He brings you everything that you could ask from a centre-forward.

"He is great in the air, he is very physical, has a great touch and a great sense to combine with other players by playing the ball off.

"He is very difficult, if not impossible, to mark in the box. He works hard for the team, he brings other players into the game - he has got all the attributes that are required for a top player.

"I don't know if Gareth Southgate is a big fan, but when Andy is playing like that every manager would like to have him in his team.

"Andy would help any team. Andy would help the German team, Andy would help the Croatian team, the Spanish team, because he is a top player."

Sadly there are still question marks about Carroll's fitness with the forward trying to overcome a groin problem to face West Brom tomorrow.

"He is in good form and he has been great for us but he hurt his groin a little bit," added Bilic. "We didn't want to take any risk with him, we will see on Friday if he is going to be available for Saturday.

"It is not something that is major. If it was bigger we would rule him out. It's very similar to the one he felt against Middlesbrough, and he played after that.

"There is no point talking about percentages, hopefully he will train on Friday and be okay."

Bilic will also check on left-back Aaron Cresswell's tight hamstring and midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate, who has a dead leg.

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