Carroll keeps feet on the ground

Carroll has been handed the number nine shirt worn with such
distinction by the former Magpies skipper, as well as the likes of
Jackie Milburn and Malcolm Macdonald before him and the 21-year-old
Geordie repaid manager Chris Hughton’s confidence in him with a
superb hat-trick in Sunday’s stunning 6-0 demolition of Aston
Villa. An approving Shearer was among the crowd at St James’ Park
to witness the feat, as were England boss Fabio Capello’s
lieutenants Franco Baldini and Stuart Pearce. However, England
Under-21 international Carroll, who has been courted by Scotland on
the senior international front and has also attracted interest from
a series of Premier League competitors, is keeping his feet firmly
on the ground. He said: “I just concentrate on myself. I know I can
play football and score goals like I did, and that’s what I go out
there to do. “Obviously, it’s great for people to see what I can
do, but I’m just happy with the three points and all the lads
playing like they did.” That sentiment was mirrored by Hughton in
the immediate aftermath of the game, but the former Republic of
Ireland international could hardly have been more pleased with the
way his fledgling striker responded to the pressure of wearing the
number nine shirt for the first time in a Premier League game on
Tyneside. Newcastle were already leading 2-0, courtesy of Joey
Barton’s piledriver and Kevin Nolan’s close-range header when
Carroll thumped home his first 11 minutes before the break. He made
it 4-0 with 67 minutes gone and then after Nolan had helped himself
to a second, started and finished a flowing move in injury-time to
complete his treble, all three of them scored with his left foot, a
significant achievement for a man known more for his prowess in the
air. Carroll said: “It was a great game, a great performance by all
the lads and getting a hat-trick in the first game of the season at
home was just fantastic. “There were no headers in it, they were
all left-footed and really it was just the quality of the balls
that went into the box for me to score the goals.” Both Carroll and
Hughton know the youngster will have to reproduce that sort of form
on a sustained basis if he is to live up to his billing. However,
team-mate Jose Enrique has been hugely impressed by the academy
graduate and is convinced he can score the goals the club need to
achieve their first objective for the season, top-flight survival.
The Spaniard said: “I have told him I hope he scores 100 goals this
season because it would be good for us! “He is a young lad and he
has to learn a lot, like me, but if he continues the same way, he
can win a lot of games for us. “I said to him after the game, it
was not just his goals, he was really, really good. “Being a
striker here is very difficult because Alan Shearer is a legend.
“But Andy is a striker who is good with his head, he’s strong and
he is going to be very important for us.” Newcastle return to
action on Wednesday evening when they travel to League Two side
Accrington in the Carling Cup second round ahead of Saturday’s
tricky league visit to Wolves.