Andy Carroll has 14 games to decide future after scoring winner for West Ham against Swansea City
West Ham United 1 Swansea City 0
Andy Carroll's West Ham United career starts now. With 14 games left this season Carroll, finally fit, can focus on playing and scoring for the team to whom he is on loan, and where he could well move permanently in the summer ‑ if he enjoys himself.
If he replicates his performance on Saturday, when he dominated Swansea and scored the game's only goal – just "the tip of the iceberg" according to team-mate Matt Taylor – Sam Allardyce, the West Ham manager, hopes he can settle.
"I think it's about Andy enjoying his football between now and the end of the season and looking at the end of this season and asking himself 'what have I achieved here this season?' We just hope that he has an injury-free 14 games and produces better form. If he gets on top of his full match fitness I am looking forward to what he can produce," Allardyce said.
This was Carroll's first start for two months but Allardyce admitted he was "surprised" how fit he was. "Obviously, you see a player come back from nine weeks out and then play 15 minutes against Fulham on Wednesday, you think, 'Come on, let's get the first hour out of him and see how he is'. Generally you will see them walking around that bit more and puffing and blowing, but that wasn't the case. He seemed really fresh and really excited that he was playing. He made such a big contribution, helping the other lads get in for chances, and the fact he scored the goal."
More of this and Carroll could well be picked again by England soon. "There is no one of his type who is being thought about being selected," Allardyce said. "If he stays fit and keeps putting in top-class performances in the Premier League you get picked again, don't you?"
Goals: West Ham Carroll 77.
Substitutions: West Ham Cole (Jarvis, 62), O'Neil (Diame, 86), Pogatetz (Nolan, 90+2).
Swansea Moore (Britton, 57), Dyer (Routledge, 75).
Bookings: West Ham Vaz Te. Swansea Chico.
Man of the match Carroll.
Match rating 4/10.
Possession: West Ham 36%. Swansea 64%. Attempts on target: West Ham 7. Swansea 3. Referee L Probert (Wiltshire).
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