Sunday, 26 August 2012

Andy Carroll Still Scares Me - Says Joe Hart

Andy Carroll may be a figure of fun to football fans – but he scares the life out of Manchester City keeper Joe Hart.
Andy Carroll 
Carroll endures more flak than most from the giggling masses.

His dated ponytail and wayward shooting is leapt upon with more frequency and glee than other players' foibles.

And the fact Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has made it abundantly clear he wants to move Carroll on has been leapt upon by his critics as cast-iron proof of his failings.

They see his time at Anfield as an abject failure and use the £35m fee the Reds paid for him to mock the big hitman.

But today Hart gives the inside track on how his fellow professionals view the England man.

And his comments will come as a surprise to those believing Carroll's Neanderthal approach to the game is open to ridicule.

Hart said: “When Andy comes on or if he starts, you know you are in for a game.

“You know how he is and what he plays with – his heart. If you speak to centre-halves, I don't think they would want to play against him to be honest.

“He might not please everyone but he is a hell of a good player, and a hard player.”

And it's not just Hart's view of the man on the pitch that cuts against Carroll's image of a lout. One with previous for getting mixed up in trouble at bars.

He added: “I love Andy. I love the way he plays football, I love the way people don't know him - I love that.

“The way people think he's just some hooligan from up north. That's what they do.

“But he's anything but. He's a gentleman, he's been great. I have introduced him to my friends, they can't get over what a good person he is.

“He is a good person, he is a very good player, he loves to get stuck in to his football, he gives everything.”

Whilst fulsome in his praise for Carroll, Hart does accept the giant striker faces a tricky task in finding a role in the modern game.

The keeper is keen to point out there is more to the striker's game than getting on the end of crosses.

But he concedes his friend is suffering at Anfield as a result of Rodgers' desire to follow the 'en vogue' Spanish style of tippy-tappy football.

“That seems to be the way everyone wants to go at the moment,” Hart added. “Spain being the best in the world, no questions asked, play that way.

“To go and win a European Championship playing a striker in only one game. What can you say, you never thought you'd see that coming.

“It's not the old-fashioned way of football. But you have to realise Andy's talent is not just kicking the ball and heading the ball.

“He just happens to be a lot better at it than a lot of other people, if not everybody.”

Hart may appreciate Carroll's talents but it seems the striker's time at Liverpool is limited.

Important decisions face him, just as they did Hart before he headed out on loan to Birmingham in 2009.

He quickly returned, threw Shay Given out of his spot as City's number one, and has not looked back.

“He's obviously got his issues at the moment with the manager at Liverpool but you that comes in football,'' he said.

“My life is good at the moment, but I've had times where I have had to look elsewhere and I am sure that may happen in the future, and at the moment that is what is happening with Andy.

“I would back him to succeed whichever way it turns. If he stays at Liverpool, there is no reason why we can't see him in that starting line-up and everything is resolved.”

Hart can bring up team-mate Carlos Tevez as an example of just how quickly things can turn around.

Only last season Blues boss Roberto Mancini went public with his anger at the Argentine's refusal to come off the bench at Bayern Munich.

Fast forward a few months and it was all smiles as Tevez scored the opener in last Sunday's 3-2 defeat of Southampton.

Hart added: “Things have changed for him because he’s here obviously. If I remember it was an uncertain time for him the summer before last but that hasn’t happened this time. He seems quite happy to be here when I speak to him.

“He has never ever said he’s unhappy when I have actually asked him and not relied on speculation. So nothing has changed too much. He’s still a quality player and he’s hungry to play for us.

“When Carlos is here ,he is the same guy all the time. He’s quality, he’s hungry and it’s very, very good to have him in the team.”

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