The boyhood Magpie entered the game in the final quarter to a cauldron of noise but failed to make an impact on the result as Steve Bruce’s men laboured to lacklustre draw.
Willems was impressed by the 30-year-old, and he was left convinced that the forward can continue where he left off against Brighton in future games.
“Andy Carroll is a good player with a lot of experience and he will make a difference,” he told the Chronicle.
“You could see that when he came on.”
Just the atmosphere upon Carroll entering the action at St James’ Park on Saturday would have been enough to spring Newcastle into action after a dreadful first 75 minutes against the Seagulls. The Magpies were ineffective for the majority of the game, finishing the clash with only 29% possession, not good enough at home. With the boycotts still ongoing against owner Mike Ashley, the atmosphere in the stadium has taken a real hit, and some of the new signings in the North East would have been amazed at the reception Carroll received. The 30-year-old added much-needed physicality against Brighton’s dominating defence, as Joelinton struggled to carry the burden by himself in the game. Carroll only featured for eight minutes, but managed to win one aerial battle, and add pressure just with his presence in the box at times. Willems is right to single out Carroll as someone who can make a difference, with his physicality and aerial ability surely set to have a positive impact on the Magpies.