Former Newcastle boss Chris Hughton was asked in an interview recently for Yahoo Sports whether it was always clear just how quickly Andy Carroll would progress after his first full season in the team. Hughton replied:
“No it wasn’t. First and foremost, he is definitely one player who benefited from the club being relegated. We had lost Michael Owen, Mark Viduka and Obafemi Martins. There is perhaps the train of thought that says if we had stayed in the Premier League we probably would have looked to replace those players with other centre-forwards. The fact that we didn’t gave Andy the opportunity to play.
I think the fact that he got to play on that regular a basis no doubt fast-tracked the qualities that he is now showing. It was evident that he was a lad who had enough in the locker to make progress, but to do that you have got to be playing games. He showed that, by the end of that Championship season, he was a much better player than when he started it.
Regarding his progress, we had a decent pre-season before the start of this season, and then we went and lost 3-0 at Manchester United in the first game. We were able to pick through some positives from that game, and probably the biggest of those was the performance of Andy Carroll. From there, of course, things have gone from strength to strength for him.”
The interviewer then asked Hughton what he thought when Liverpool paid £35 million for him:
The fee was always going to be about the future. With the money that they got for (Fernando) Torres and what they paid out for Carroll and (Luis) Suarez, at the moment it looks like good business. Only time will tell, regarding the actual figure that they paid for him.
If Andy continues to make really good progress for Liverpool and England over the next few years then everybody will look at that fee and say it was worth every penny of it, because we now have a player who is possibly worth more. It is a big fee, and I think most people at the time felt that, but these are the market values these days.”
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