What’s the story?
Writing about the 5-2 loss away at Elland Road, Lee Ryder noted how the 31-year-old looked ‘far from happy’ when Miguel Almiron’s number went up as the third and final substitute. Indeed, he appeared to be ‘furious’ at the situation and is understood to be determined to play his part this season.
Is he right to be angry?
In short, yes.
Leeds’ weakness from dead-ball situations has been noted by the likes of Phil Hay this season and Ciaran Clark certainly exploited that when scoring to restore parity before the home side’s late surge.
While Carroll hasn’t scored since returning to his boyhood club in the summer of 2019, he does possess an obvious aerial quality given his towering frame and the fact he’s won 3.9 duels off the ground per game on average this season, according to WhoScored.
On the night, Liam Cooper did prove to be dominant in the air by winning seven of his aerial duels but it’s not as if Newcastle put up much of a fight in that respect. Joelinton and Callum Wilson won four apiece, which looks rather lacklustre when you consider Carroll won 12 against West Ham earlier in the campaign.
With Ryan Fraser completing three crosses in West Yorkshire, it was well above Newcastle’s seasonal average (no regular starter has managed more than one per game) so there was certainly scope to utilise Carroll’s obvious threat.
Obviously, most players will be angry at not playing but it does seem strange Bruce didn’t opt for his skill-set against Leeds.
Perhaps the Newcastle manager could argue that he’s no guarantee of goals given his record since re-joining but it did look like an ideal game for Carroll. Even if deployed as a target man in order to negate Leeds’ famous high-press, it did look as if he could be useful.
Clearly, it’s easy to comment in hindsight when compared to frantic in-game decisions but Carroll certainly has a point.