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18th Jan 2018

“He went to gym and felt stiff, then he felt that he didn’t want to go to the gym anymore”

Robert Redmond

“I just feel he doesn’t have the mentality or drive to be a top player.”

Craig Bellamy says Andy Carroll isn’t laid back, but he didn’t fancy being stiff after the gym so much so that he would just not go thereafter.

Chelsea are reportedly in talks with West Ham about a transfer for Andy Carroll. If the move is completed, it will be the most surprising January transfer since Liverpool spent £35m on the former Newcastle forward in 2011. The idea of Carroll lining out for the Premier League champions has left some football fans confused.

Chelsea’s season has hit something of a slump. They are in fourth place, but have struggled in front of goal recently. Alvaro Morata has two goals in his last 11 league games, Eden Hazard has one goal in his last eight league games, and Antonio Conte doesn’t seem to rate back-up striker Michy Batshuayi, who is expected to leave the club this month.

Chelsea need reinforcements, but is Carroll really the answer?

The former England forward is 29, he’s not a prolific goalscorer, he often misses matches due to injury or fitness issues, and he doesn’t seem a natural fit to play alongside footballers such as Hazard and Cesc Fabregas. It’s possible that he could prove a useful back-up to Morata, but most seem perplexed by the transfer link, including Craig Bellamy, Carroll’s former teammate.

The pair played alongside each other at Liverpool in the 2011/12 season, Carroll’s only full season at Anfield, which saw him score four goals in 35 Premier League appearances. When asked on Sky Sports about the West Ham forward potentially joining Chelsea, Bellamy offered a very honest assessment of the player, based on their time working together.

Bellamy questioned Carroll’s ability as a footballer, and his motivation to improve. Many football pundits try their best to offer a positive appraisal of a former teammate, but Bellamy was brutally honest.

Speaking on Sky Sports, Bellamy was bluntly honest.

“His strength is in the air, he’s very difficult to deal with. But, in general play, he’s very difficult to link with, he doesn’t see the game,” he said on The Debate.

“My conversations always with Andy were… I don’t believe he worked hard enough during the week to be the player he wanted to become. I never seen an inch of that, like with Jordan Henderson.

“He was going through a difficult period at that time as well, but he just trained and trained and trained, he kept improving, going to the gym. He worked, and I knew, I remember saying to him, ‘You’re going to be a top player. I know it, just by your attitude, and the ability you have, it will come’. I never felt that was going to be the case with Andy.”

Host Geoff Shreeves then asked if Carroll was a “laid-back character.”

“I wouldn’t say ‘laid-back’,” Bellamy said.

“He went to gym and felt stiff, then he felt that he didn’t want to go to the gym anymore.

“Are his injuries part of that he doesn’t look after himself? I felt that is always the case with Andy.

“I just feel he doesn’t have the mentality or drive to be a top player, to be at Chelsea levels or be at Liverpool for more than one season, and that’s just what I’ve always felt with Andy. I was surprised he was linked to Chelsea.”

It’s refreshing to see Bellamy offer an honest assessment of his former teammate, and the standard of football punditry would be better if more took his approach.

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