Sam Allardyce has issued a timely warning to Andy Carroll.
Now he has completed a permanent move to West Ham United following his nightmare spell at Liverpool, Carroll will be looking to find the form which persuaded the Reds to pay £35million for his signature back in January 2011. There were fleeting signs of this last season, when he played a key role in keeping the Hammers in the top-flight.
And Allardyce has told Carroll he needs to get even better during the coming campaign, not only to help the Londoners improve on their Premier League showing last term, but to ensure he is part of England’s World Cup plans. And the 24-year-old looks set face a battle from Rickie Lambert to earn the nod from coach Roy Hodgson.
The Southampton striker scored 15 league goals last season, and he was rewarded with an international call up for the friendly against Scotland on Wednesday night. With the score level at 2-2, the 31-year-old came off the bench and had an immediate impact, heading past Allan McGregor to give the home side a memorable victory.
“I think there a choice for that type of player between Andy and Rickie. It’s going to be a challenge this season on who’s the best of the two,” Allardyce said. “Andy is looking forward to playing for us and doing a great job, which we would hope will get him to Brazil. I’m sure Rickie is the same. One or the other would go.
“I think it will be a competition between the two on who consistently plays the best this season. From a selfish point of view I hope it’s Andy. But for Rickie it was great to see him come on and make a statement. To get the winner against Scotland shows what he can do and what England might be missing a bit.”