Michael Ricketts once had the world at his feet and was the hottest striker in town. Now, after it all came crashing around him, he has some advice for Andy Carroll: put the work in and have good people around you.
Ricketts and Carroll’s career starts are eerily similar, with both making their debuts for England in friendlies early on in their careers; both scoring match winning goals effortlessly for their sides; and both moving clubs for massive transfer fees – Carroll for £35 million to Liverpool, and Ricketts to Middlesbrough for £3 million eight years ago.
"Andy Carroll has come through the way I did and of course his situation takes me back and I remember how I was at that point,” Ricketts told The Sun.
"I was the leading scorer in Britain and had similar stats in my career to Andy's.
"He should make sure he makes the most of his career because I know from experience it can go downhill before you realise it.”
The 32 year old striker credits injury woes as part of his downfall, which Carroll has experienced at the start of the year and delayed his start at Liverpool. But Ricketts admits that lack of motivation was essentially his undoing.
"I had bad luck with injuries but I didn't always apply myself properly. I enjoyed training but I didn't like running.
"It's great when you're a successful young footballer but you still have to put the work in."
Of Ricketts' move from Bolton to Middlesbrough, he said, "I just wanted a new challenge. I was disappointed when a possible move to Spurs fell through but Middlesbrough came in and was still a big opportunity for me - like Andy's is at Liverpool."
But Ricketts doesn’t believe Carroll will have the same bad injury luck or lack of motivation at Liverpool than he did in his prime.
"You have regrets and I couldn't have got any lower... But I don't expect it to go wrong for Andy as it did for me. He has good people around him and I think he'll be fine."
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