In theory, the presence of Andy Carroll in the England squad has a logic to it. The argument in late April/ early May will go something like this.
'Carroll's been in good form in the second half of the season. His 13 goals were pivotal in keeping West Ham up. On his day he is unplayable, look at what he did against (insert a team who Carroll played fantastically against). You wouldn't necessarily start with him but he offers a different dimension. He gives the team a 'plan B' for the last twenty minutes or so when you need to mix things up.'
Despite the rampant use of footballing cliches there is something to this - on paper. Unfortunately the history of watching England in the modern era shows that the gap between theory and reality is like that between a vicious hungry lion and a squashed tangerine.
The moment Andy Carroll, or any tall centre forward, comes onto the pitch all other English players will cease to attempt to pass the ball or get the ball wide. Instead the centre backs will launch a series of long diagonal balls up field aimed at Carroll. The opposing centre backs will quickly cotton on to this tactic and ensure they win every second ball.
Consequently, all the introduction of Carroll will do is offer England a quick and ugly way to lose possession. Even worse as England come under pressure for giving the ball away the long balls up to Carroll will increase in both frequency and inaccuracy. This will naturally increase the pressure even more. Until the inevitable happens and England concede. Bonus points are available for a frustrated Wayne Rooney getting himself sent off.
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