Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce has been reminiscing about the first time he saw Magpies frontman Andy Carroll play.
The 30-year-old rejoined the north east giants on a free transfer this summer after leaving West Ham United. Bruce, though, first noticed his potential 11 years ago when he came off the bench for Newcastle against his Wigan Athletic side.
“I remember when I was manager of Wigan and he came on and smashed us to bits and I thought, ‘Oh my God. What is that? That is a bit of a throwback if I ever saw one’,” he said, as per the Northern Echo.
“It’s unfair to say he’s old fashioned because that means to say everyone was like him. They weren’t. Listen, playing against Andy Carroll at his best, for his time, was as good as you got. That’s why he went for a British record fee at the time.”
Carroll has become a bit of a figure of ridicule in recent years, making it easy to forget just what an impact he had when he first broke onto the scene in the Championship and then the Premier League. He was absolutely dominant on his day – and they occurred much more frequently in a black and white shirt than they did for Liverpool or West Ham. The reaction Bruce had when he was Wigan boss was likely similar to what most opposition managers endured when going up against Carroll in those days. After arriving on a free this summer, the Newcastle fans would likely be happy if he can produce half the impact he did the first time around in this his second spell at the club. There’s no doubt that he’s no longer the player he once was – chronic injury problems can do that to you – but if he can just find a way to remain fit for a substantial period of time then he can still make an impact at top flight level.