Should Andy Carroll call it quits?
Background Image Via: Wikimedia Commons/Jimmy McIntyre. CC BY-SA 2.0.
Andrew Thomas Carroll, born in Gateshead, grew up supporting The Toon. As a teenager, the striker would join Newcastle United's youth ranks before working his way up to their first-team in just a few years. The young man was living the dream donning his beloved Magpies colours.
In 2009/10, Caroll would power his boyhood club back into the Premier League on the back of a 19-goal season. The 6'4 striker would consolidate Newcastle's place in the Premier League - but only for the first half of the 2010/11 term. Liverpool would come in with an irresistible £35million bid - and honestly, his career would never be the same since, despite a move to West Ham that turned things around, albeit only momentarily.
Somewhat surprisingly, his 11 top-flight strikes during those first five months 2010/11 campaign with Newcastle is his best goalscoring tally this decade. In just over 200 appearances since leaving Tyneside, Carroll has struck 45 times. That said, the goal-haul isn't the issue-at-hand here... The main problem, unquestionably, is time spent on the treatment table.
Since 2008/09, Caroll has missed 169 (!) games through injury. Over that timespan, the Englishman has been sidelined for 1502 days. That's over four-and-a-half full Premier League seasons and over four years on the treatment table. Just what exactly have Newcastle, Liverpool and West Ham been paying him for...?
Upon his return to Newcastle, Caroll has played four times totalling 89 minutes on the field. Predictably, injury has since struck, a groin problem, thought to only be minor. Although controversial, the question I'd like to ask is why continue to put yourself through it?
Okay, so you may look at his age and think well, he's only 30, there are plenty more miles left in the tank. However, putting your body through so much stress and tension will eventually take its toll. The amount of times Carroll has had to have surgery or suffered ligamental injuries is simply frightening. You start to wonder whether what effects this will have on him later on in life when football really is a thing of the past.
It's not only physically draining, either. You think about what he's going through mentally. The rehabilitation process must be a serious struggle, particularly when Carroll is going through it so frequently. You do have to remember at this highest level, it's all a mindset and the Newcastle #7 won't want to quit.
Then you factor in the financial side. Carroll is on a base £22,500-a-week at Newcastle, potentially rising to a huge £70,000-a-week should he start with regularity and meet performance-based goals. Who in their right mind would just walk away from that? Perhaps he's even less likely to do so knowing he probably has a shorter shelf-life than most.
Right now, I just find it sad. This is a man with so much potential to be a genuine difference-maker for club and country. Sure, Carroll probably hasn't looked after himself as much as he'd have liked, particularly in his younger years, but to see a career decimated by injury is a massive shame. Should he call it quits? Nah, the pros far outweigh the cons, particularly if clubs are still willing to take the risk on him...