The popular Geordie striker was given his first start of the season in the 2-0 win over Sheffield United on Thursday, but Waugh believes that questions over Carroll’s physical condition could lead to a recall for the Brazilian.
Writing in a Q&A for the Athletic, he said: “I thought it was a mixed performance [from Carroll], and that he improved as the game went on, but what I did like to see was him encouraging the other forwards to get on to the end of his knock-ons; that’s what’s been missing in my view.
“I do agree that he looks more suited to being the focal point up front, but there must be concerns over whether Carroll is fit enough to start two games inside three days.
“For that reason, I suspect Joelinton may return on Sunday, unless Carroll has recovered well from last night.”
This was always going to be the fear with re-signing Carroll. The Newcastle striker has such a poor injury record that he could have had a second career as an extra on Casualty down the years, and during his first few months back on Tyneside, there has been little to suggest that his recurrent issues have been getting much better. Of course, he did play on Thursday, and to be honest, a lot of people will have been surprised to see him last as long as he did against the Blades. 72 minutes was a very decent shift, although he was really blowing by the end of it and the prospect of him putting in a similar outing in a couple of days does feel quite slim. Thursday was a fairly muted outing for Carroll, but there were flashes of his old, havoc-causing self. Nine aerial duels won, including the one that led to Jonjo Shelvey’s goal, as per Whoscored, was an impressive tally, and if he can just get himself up to scratch in terms of fitness, he can still be a real asset for the Toon Army.