Belfast Telegraph

Slaven Bilic: Andy Carroll can make an impression on Gareth Southgate anytime

Slaven Bilic has backed Andy Carroll to earn a recall to the England squad, even though injury denied him the chance to impress Gareth Southgate on Saturday.

The England manager had attended West Ham's 2-2 Premier League draw with West Brom to judge the striker's form, as he prepares to announce his next squad for fixtures with Germany and Lithuania.

Carroll instead missed out because of a groin injury, perhaps reminding Southgate of a wider concern surrounding the West Ham striker's fitness, despite him scoring four goals in his past four games.

The Hammers' exit from the FA Cup means they do not play again until February 25 against Watford, denying Carroll another potential opportunity to push for his first England appearance since 2012.

However, his club manager is convinced he will still earn his chance.

"He was disappointed (to miss out in front of Southgate) but he is a mature man," said Bilic. "He knows it's not that he has had a great few games and now he needs Gareth Southgate to be here.

"He is a good player and he is going to show him in March, April, whenever, that he is a good player. He is not doing anything that he did not do last year.

"It is only that he is doing it more regularly because he is playing and available, apart from this game, for the majority of the games. He has enough time and Gareth also has enough time to come again and watch him.

"I want him to get picked for England. It's a great thing for him. It would be a great thing for him and a great thing for the club.

"The positiveness and the confidence that every player gets when he gets a call-up for the national team is much more than the couple of days that he loses, or that he would use to rest. On the scale, the positives are much bigger.

"What also pleased me (against West Brom) is we don't depend on one player. We have a team that can compensate when one of those players is not playing, even if it is Andy Carroll."

After trailing to Nacer Chadli's first-half finish, West Ham led 2-1 through goals from Sofiane Feghouli and Manuel Lanzini until Gareth McAuley was credited with a touch on Jonny Evans' stoppage-time header.

The late set-piece and West Brom's resilience provided the latest demonstrations of why they are performing above expectations and remain eighth in the table.

Tony Pulis' position had been the subject of speculation earlier in the season after they were taken over by a Chinese investment group but he has put them on course for their best Premier League finish and spoke of his satisfaction at the progress they have made.

"I'm very, very pleased we can come away and play more open and expansive (football), we've got the players to do that now," the 59-year-old said.

"Although we've got Chinese owners we're not going to go out and spend £100million so we've got to be clever, make sure we get a really good spirit and every window try to make the team better.

"You need time to do that and unfortunately in football if you have a little bit of bad spell people wobble. "


From Belfast Telegraph