Steve Bruce names player who's 'in charge' of Newcastle United's dressing room
Andy Carroll’s already a big influence off the pitch at Newcastle United – and Steve Bruce’s backing him to make a difference on the field.
The Newcastle United striker has recovered from a groin injury and will be on the bench against his former club West Ham United this afternoon.
Carroll left the London Stadium at the end of last season as a free agent following ankle surgery and re-joined Newcastle in August.
The 30-year-old has so far made four appearances off the bench for his boyhood club.
“He has missed nine to 10 days from where he was before,” said head coach Steve Bruce. “He’s OK. He’s joined in the last two or three days. He’ll be on the bench.”
Carroll’s career at West Ham was interrupted by a series of injuries and operations.
“What makes him a really good player is that he doesn’t have to be motivated by much,” said Bruce. “He came on against Man United, and that last half hour you could feel the whole ground go with him, because of what he gives you.
“I know he had a disappointing time at West Ham, mainly through injury. Usually, he doesn’t need much motivation, but I’m sure he will want to do well there.”
Bruce says the signing of Carroll on an initial one-year deal was a “calculated gamble” given his injury record.
“We knew it was going to be a gamble,” said Bruce. “It was a calculated gamble. But if we can get him on the pitch, then that calculated gamble will be worthwhile, because a proven one, like Andy Carroll, is a no-brainer.
“The problem we’ve got is ‘can he stay fit?’. And that’s always the big question. But the type of contract he has signed, and fair play to him of wanting to come here and do that, it was a risk worth taking.”
Gateshead-born Carroll, sold to Liverpool in January 2011 for £35million, is already an influence in the dressing room.
“Andy around the dressing room makes a difference,” said Bruce. “He polices the dressing room. Rather than being the rebel, he’s in charge. If Andy say it’s dark, it’s midnight.”