Roy announces the team on Wednesday. Will Andy Carroll be included?
A month ago suggesting Andy Carroll should lead the line at Euro 2012 seemed faintly ridiculous. He had singularly failed throughout his first full season at Anfield, looking at different times uninterested, unfit and not up to the standards expected of a Liverpool no. 9. The only people who should have been lauding him were the ones who provided him with the lowpoint of his season - the Geordie fans jeering him as he was dragged off six weeks ago (they seem to have forgotten that without the Carroll transfer fee, many of Newcastle's recent signings may not have been affordable).However his form over the last few games gives a compelling case for inclusion. it may be too little too late, but the following suggestions should give Roy pause for thought before naming his squad
1. Point of difference. He offers a totally different skiil set than the other forwards in contention for places. There are enough smaller tricky forwards competing for places but only a few who offer something different physically. The other "lanky, big and can play a bit" candidates are Grant Holt (hard to see why you'd pick him over Carroll) and Peter Crouch (nothing special there, and has had his chances - move along).
2. He can play a bit. Yes he has had a crap start to his Liverpool career but don't forget the menace he was for Newcastle and the form he is capable of hitting. Remember his form in recent weeks against Chelsea, and even further back his two goals against Manchester City last season. He can cause havoc for the best defences in the Premiership. No reason to think he couldn't do the same in the Euros.
3. His unplayability. When he is in form, he really is unstoppable. Isn't it worth taking a punt? The only other English forward capable of such disruption is Rooney and of course he isn't available for the first couple of games, so why not give Carroll his shirt and see what he can do?
4. Changing tactics. Use him off the bench to batter teams in the last half hour of a game as seen in the cup final. The French defenders will hate it.
5. The service he'll get. Playing in front of a midfield of Gerrard, Lampard, Parker etc is more likely to bear fruit than the one he's had to put up with this season (Shelvey, Henderson etc). Give him decent service and see what happens.
6. Self Belief. He looks hungry and interested.He didn't earlier this season. It's hard to know what has triggered the change but it is probably a mental thing and it is reaping rewards in his recent play.
7. Timing Momentum and form are on his side as is a building sense of peaking at the right moment. He could be a star of the tournament - one which England have never entered under lower expectations.
8 History. Football is full of players out of form who have shone at major tournaments, why not back Big Andy to do the same.