Danny Mills has been left raving over the potential impact Andy Carroll could have at Newcastle United but insists the Magpies are “scraping the bottom of the barrel” by relying on him as their backup option.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Manchester City and England defender says that the former West Ham hitman has the ability to cause the opposition a serious problem when it comes to aerial duels but that his lack of playing time is a concern.
Carroll returned to his boyhood club on a free transfer this summer, playing his first competitive game since February against Brighton on Saturday.
Mills says that the potential for Carroll to be a gamechanger is there but that it is hugely dependent on his fitness, insisting Newcastle are taking a gamble by relying on him to come off the bench and make a difference.
Mills told Football Insider: “If he’s fit and you can keep him fit to get him on the pitch for 45 minutes, half an hour, he is one of the best headers on goal there is. Simple as that.
“You’ve then got to play to his strengths – get the ball out wide and get crosses into the box to be able to use that, whether that’s him going for goal or him getting knock downs for others coming in.
“You’re relying on someone that hasn’t played a lot of football, he’s hardly played any football and that’s what you’re relying on as a plan b. You’re scraping the bottom of the barrel.”
Carroll played just 14 times across all competitions for West Ham last season, an ankle injury keeping him out of action for both the first four months and the last two-and-a-half months of the campaign.
He made 90 appearances during his first spell at Newcastle, breaking through the youth ranks to emerge as one of England’s brightest attacking youngsters.
In other Newcastle United news, Darren Bent has suggested to Football Insider that the club’s “best player” is getting frustrated with his teammates.