The Sky Sports pundit implied that the Magpies forward causes his own injury issues due to the number of high-end challenges he makes and noted that he took on four defenders during the 1-0 loss to Chelsea.
Ashton admitted that he does absolutely love watching Carroll play due to the way he throws himself into challenges as well as due to the goals he scores, but stated his style was surely going to take its toll on his body.
“Yes, clearly Andy Carroll is never going to change,” said Ashton on Match Centre (Sky Sports News, 11:52, Thursday, October 25th).
“He’s gone in there with four defenders…it’s no wonder he gets injured, if he comes off the bench where you haven’t quite had the warm-up you’d want and you’re having to go for these aerial challenges, let’s be honest they’re all aerial challenges it’s going to take a toll on your body, the way you land, the way you have to fight defenders.
“I absolutely love watching Andy Carroll play as he gives every bit of sweat he has got for challenges and when he scores his goals, they’re usually great headed goals or a tap in, but I don’t see how he is ever going to stay fit when he is going into as many high-end challenges as he is.”
Carroll isn’t afraid to get stuck in, and maybe that doesn’t see him avoid injury, but what does Ashton want to happen? Should the forward play like he’s wrapped up in cotton wool and not strive to do everything for his team? Surely that would be wrong too. Also just because Carroll goes flying into challenges and isn’t afraid to get physical doesn’t mean he is destined to get injured. Plenty of physical players over the years have had near-perfect injury records, and Carroll just has bad luck and is naturally prone to setbacks. It’s also worth making clear that if Carroll changed his style of play, he won’t be anywhere near as effective. The 30-year-old may not have scored during his second spell at St James Park just yet, but due to the way he has put himself about, he has made a difference. Carroll only touched the ball 10 times against Chelsea at the weekend but he won four aerial duels, which was the joint second-highest amount out of everyone on the pitch (Source: WhoScored), and his ability to do that, made it feel like the Magpies may be able to snatch a point. So when you consider that, it’s hard to know what point Ashton is trying to make.