By Paul Robinson

8th Dec, 2019 | 4:30pm

'Huge asset' - Exclusive: Robinson raves about Newcastle fan favourite who featured v Saints

Paul Robinson heaped praise on Newcastle United attacker Andy Carroll and dubbed him a “huge asset.”

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Laura O’Leary, the former England international acknowledged that Carroll was a fan favourite who gives the crowd a boost whenever he features.

Carroll has featured eight times across all competitions for Steve Bruce’s side this season, with his first Premier League start coming in midweek against Sheffield United.

The Magpies boss opted to drop the 30-year-old to the bench for Sunday’s 2-1 win over Southampton but ended up bringing him on for the final 20 minutes of the match.

Robinson explained that Carroll offered a different threat in the air compared to fellow Magpies attacker Joelinton and that his presence seemed to allow the club’s midfielders to get forward easier.

“The thing with Andy is getting him fit and getting him on the pitch,” Robinson told Football Insider.

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“I think he was a surprise selection for the Sheffield United game, don’t think we expected him to start, but he gives the team a lift, the supporters a lift and if you can manage his off-the-field fitness well and do whatever you need do to get him on the pitch, he’s a huge asset.

“Joelinton has struggled at times as he has been isolated, but Andy Carroll just seems to bring things together.

“He’s a different threat in the air, he occupies the central defenders which clearly allows the two midfielders to get the goals.”

Carroll is yet to score a goal for the Magpies this season but did register his first and only assist of the campaign in the 2-0 win over Sheffield United.

The 30-year-old returned to St James Park in the summer after opting to rejoin the Magpies once his West Ham contract expired.

In other Newcastle United news, Danny Mills claimed a senior Magpies player is heading for a January exit.