Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Andy Carroll must be stopped before he does real damage

... the West Ham striker leads with the arm far too often and it may lead to a life-changing clash

This business with Andy Carroll cannot go on. Someone is going to get hurt.

And not hurt like Marvin Zeegelaar of Watford was, either. Not a bit of claret, tampons-up-the-hooter hurt. Sirens, blue flashing light, intensive care hurt. Gary Mabbutt hurt. Iain Hume hurt.

Leading with the arm has potentially ruinous consequences and Carroll does it far too often.

That he could have left West Ham and their new manager, David Moyes, with 10 men after just six seconds of their match with Watford on Sunday was unprofessional. Catching Zeegelaar with such force he looked to have broken his nose was reckless.

But that isn't the half of it. The worst-case scenario of a severe blow to the head is life-changing, perhaps fatal. And that is what Carroll, and football, risks each time he leads with an arm.

Andy Carroll must be stopped before he does real damage

In 2008, Hume, a striker with Barnsley, required emergency brain surgery having been elbowed in the head by Chris Morgan of Sheffield United.

It was an appalling blow and had the medical services not acted quickly Hume could have died.
Morgan was not jumping, had his feet planted and struck Hume before heading the ball away, not as part of the same motion.
There was no question of a leap, momentum or imbalance playing a part. Despite the FA's depressing inertia — they took no further action, meaning the yellow card shown to Morgan at the time was the extent of his punishment — the consequences should have served as a warning.
Clearly, they did not, because Carroll has been allowed to make assault part of his armoury this season.

Carroll's foul on Zeegelaar was not deemed as serious as an elbow, because his arm was straight. Equally, he was jumping for the ball, so referee Andre Marriner may have thought he was using the limb to gain height, for protection, or to achieve physical superiority.
He's a big bloke, too. Sometimes that can be made to seem a crime when challenging for the ball in the air. Gareth Bale had a cracking header disallowed for Real Madrid against Barcelona, simply for being taller than Jordi Alba. Yet Carroll is not breaking noses because he is 6ft 4in tall, but because his forearm arrives before he does. Sunday was his first league start since he was sent off against Burnley on October 14. It wasn't his first offence that day, either.
Either Moyes gets hold of this, or the officials must. A red card after six seconds would have ruined the spectacle of West Ham's visit to Watford, but Marriner has no duty there.
He does, however, have a duty of care to the players — and he failed in it on Sunday.

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