Deciding to settle down can only help Andy Carroll’s mindset when he is fully fit and returns to the West Ham attack, according to manager Sam Allardyce.
Carroll, 25, has yet to feature this season after undergoing ankle surgery, but if he shows no ill effects from a behind-closed-doors match against Southend in midweek he could come into contention for Saturday’s Barclays Premier League encounter with Aston Villa.
Allardyce can offer no guarantees of selection to the striker, signed in a club-record £15million deal from Liverpool in June 2013.
However, the Irons boss believes Carroll is now ready to put his well-documented off-field problems firmly behind him, having recently become engaged to former The Only Way Is Essex star Billi Mucklow.
“Andy has now got a different life. He is not a single man in London and has now got his fiancee,” said Allardyce, who encouraged Carroll’s gym sessions with his then girlfriend during rehabiliation from an injury sustained on a pre-season tour of New Zealand.
“The romance has blossomed to the point where he feels that she feels that they want a long-term relationship, and I always think that can be very good for a footballer when they settle down more off the field.
“London can be a very lonely city if you are sat in your apartment on your own every single night – maybe you stay out that little bit too late.
“But when you have a relationship, you start building on that relationship by the fondness you have for each other and I think that can only be good for Andy and his football.”
Allardyce feels the 6ft 3ins Carroll can adapt his physical style to help avoid the kind of impact injuries which have hampered the England forward’s career following his big-money move from home-town club Newcastle to Liverpool in 2011.
“Andy has got to manage himself, at 25 years old and with the injuries he has sustained in his short career,” said the Irons boss.
“Now he has got to maintain his level of all the things he is doing now while he is injured, continue to focus on strength and conditioning, his mobility, his prevention of injury policy that he should have ingrained in his mind.”
Allardyce feels Carroll can embrace his new fitness regime and also develop a new, fine-tuned approach on the pitch.
“Maybe somewhere along the line Andy has to think about modifying his game a touch,” Allardyce added.
“He is so brave and fearless that I fear that some of the injuries actually come from that, but it all comes with experience.
“He is a whole-hearted, committed player.
“I cannot tell him to pull out of challenges, it can only come with experience as he gains it, as he goes forward.
“You just know what you can win and what you definitely might not be able to win, that might steer him clear of an injury or two that might occur.
“It is just the experience of knowing when to go and win it and when to maybe just ease off it and take up another position.
“But the biggest thing for Andy is his work off the field after training to maintain his level of fitness.”
Associated Press Report.