It’s safe to say Andy Carroll is settling into life in the big time. The 6’3 ponytailed striker turned heads in 2009-10 as he scored 17 goals and created eight more as Newcastle stormed to the Championship title. As he took that form into the Premier League, it was only a matter of time before bigger names came a-calling.
Fast-forward to the start of the 2011-12 campaign and Gateshead’s favourite battering ram is not only a key player in Liverpool’s rejuvenation under Kenny Dalglish, scoring in their opening game against Sunderland only to see the goal disallowed, but a vital component of Fabio Capello’s new England team as well.
And even though he’s only 22, Carroll – now the most expensive English footballer of all time – is self-assured and confident as he speaks to FourFourTwo.com around the release of Umbro’s new England away kit.
Andy, you’ve joined up with the England camp quite a few times now. Are you starting to feel relaxed; part of the furniture, even?
I feel a little bit more like I’m part of the squad, but obviously I’ve still got a lot of time to work on things, and hopefully be in the squad more. I know I’m not going to be in the team every time, so that’s something to work on.
Do the other guys make you feel comfortable?
Yes – when I went there the first time I was a bit nervous, but they all welcomed me, and when I went the second time it was like I had been there a million times. The lads are helping me along in training, and with so much experience around they are always going to be helping.
Who are you best mates in the England camp?
I’ve played against a lot of them, so I’d spoken to all of them before I arrived. I speak to Joe Hart a lot – he’s a good mate – and Glen Johnson, too. He’s at Liverpool so I speak to him every day.
Do you sense you’re part of something new and exciting with England?
I think players like Jack Wilshere and some of the others coming through is great for England. I feel I’m playing well and I was delighted to have got my first goal for England against Ghana recently.
How did it feel to score that goal, your first for England?
It was just an immense feeling, really. Stewart Downing took the ball down and it landed right in my path, and I hit it home. It was great to get the goal: I’d been injured a long time so it was good to get back and hit the back of the net. It was a great feeling, especially because it was at Wembley. That made it even better. Everybody was just going crazy, and it’s one of the best feelings, seeing 90,000 people jumping around and screaming your name. It’s amazing.
Do you have a minute’s reflection and think, 'Wow, look what I have done'?
Sometimes I will sit with my girlfriend and think, “I can’t believe I was at Newcastle last year, and now I am here with all this going on around me. But I’m taking it in my stride – that’s the most important thing.
Finally, what’s it like standing next to the smaller lads in training?
[Laughs] To be honest with you, when I train with England I am looking up at Peter Crouch. It’s a bit weird as it’s not very often I look u�p to people!
Interview: Ben Welch. Andy Carroll wears the new England Away strip tailored by Umbro. Lightweight and breathable, the shirt uses mesh technology to increase the air flow to the body, updating a style that was first introduced for England in 1970 for the Mexico World Cup. Visit umbro.com.