Paul Robinson has admitted his “surprise” at Steve Bruce relying on Andy Carroll in Newcastle United’s midweek win over Sheffield United, but has claimed that the Toon hitman can be a “huge asset” for his hometown club.
The outing was the striker’s first start of his second spell with the Magpies.
The 30-year-old was then benched for Sunday’s late victory over Southampton, but was brought on in the 59th minute and went on to register an assist for Jonjo Shelvey’s first in a 2-1 comeback.
And Sky Sports pundit Robinson expects him to continue having a positive effect.
Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “I think he was a surprise selection for the Sheffield United game, don’t think we expected him to start, but he gives the team a lift, the supporters a lift and if you can manage his off-the-field fitness well and do whatever you need do to get him on the pitch, he’s a huge asset.
“Joelinton has struggled at times as he has been isolated, but Andy Carroll just seems to bring things together.
“He’s a different threat in the air, he occupies the central defenders which clearly allows the two midfielders to get the goals.”
Carroll is starting to find his groove with his boyhood club. Granted, he still hasn’t found the back of the net – and what a special moment it will be when he does, by the way – but seeing the impact he has had over the past week, it’s hard not to be a little bit excited about things to come. The big man has two assists in two games now, and managed to win a colossal eight aerial duels in just 31 minutes against the Saints on Sunday, as per Whoscored. He is still a unique attacking battering ram, and when he is on song, there are few players like him in the country. Of course, his cause is probably being helped somewhat by Joelinton’s general uselessness, with the Brazilian having bagged just once in 16 league outings, but nonetheless, Carroll is looking more and more like that man Steve Bruce should be turning to to lead the line. Injuries and fitness, as always, could be a factor in how often that the local lad actually gets the nod, but if he can stay out of the treatment room, he could be a real secret weapon this term.