Steve Bruce has admitted Andy Carroll is proving to be a beneficial asset to his Newcastle United squad, as the forward is starting to take on a greater leadership role both on the field and behind the scenes at Darsley Park.
Carroll returned to the North East as a free agent late in the summer transfer window, having been released by West Ham United after six years as a permanent player of the East London outfit.
Injuries had plagued Carroll’s spell with the Irons, as the Gateshead-born target man was resigned to watching 151 games from the sidelines between initially joining the Hammers on loan from Liverpool and leaving earlier this year.
Carroll’s ankles and knees were often the cause of his enforced absences from matchday squads, with the 9-cap former England international forced to undergo two operations on his ankle in the past year-and-a-half alone.
Bruce has been pleased to have Carroll to hand more and more as the season progresses, but has been just as thrilled with what the 30-year-old has offered the younger members of the first-team in training.
“Thankfully, touch wood, his ankle is holding up and that’s great,” Bruce told Sky Sports (11/12/19, 13:06). “He’s had one or two niggles, and we’ve had to manage him, but fair play to him, its Andy Carroll the experienced one, not the young one.
“And a lot of people look in the dressing room, and just watch his half an hour [from] the other night, how he changed the game and it was Andy Carroll of old again.
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“As I’ve said from the day we brought him in, if he stays well and stays fit, then he can always lead from the front, not just on the pitch but off it too.
“He’s getting to that experienced one where people are now, the Longstaff brothers, for example, sit with him every day when they’re having their lunch, so its good to see.”
Carroll made his second United debut off the bench when we faced Brighton & Hove Albion in September, and has amassed a total of 227 minutes after leaving the dugout midway through the second half of Sunday’s comeback win over Southampton.
The 30-year-old has assisted goals in his last two outings, on both occasions connecting with Jonjo Shelvey.
In other Newcastle United news, a £43k-p/w star is keen to hold clear the air talks with club chiefs to discuss his future at St. James’ Park.