Pressure on West Ham’s Cole to step up and fill big boots of Carroll

11:45 13 September 2012

West Ham United

West Ham United's Carlton Cole celebrates victory after the final whistle

EMPICS Sport

West Ham striker Carlton Cole has the unenviable task of following Andy Carroll’s performance for West Ham this Saturday

There are few things more liable to divide opinion than the value of Carlton Cole to West Ham United.

The global warming debate and God’s existence rub shoulders with how good is Carlton Cole? And there are certainly two different camps.

There are some who have castigated the England international since the day he arrived at Upton Park in the summer of 2006.

Over 200 appearances and 57 goals later many are still unconvinced by his contributions to West Ham United.

Just three weeks ago someone was arrested for racist attacks on the player as well as his performance against Swansea City.

But there is just as strong a faction of Hammers fans who are loyal to the 28-year-old centre forward.

After all, Cole has been top scorer at the club for the past four seasons, reaching double figures on each occasion.

He also played a vital part in the play-off final win against Blackpool in May, scoring the opener and then setting-up Ricardo Vaz Te for the winner.

There is no question he gives everything for the Hammers and long gone are the days when his attitude was a matter of concern.

But Cole faces the biggest threat to his West Ham future in the next few weeks as he battles for a starting spot in the team, following the arrival of Andy Carroll on a season-long loan from Liverpool.

The £35 million man was awesome on his debut against Fulham, but injury means that Cole will get the chance to return to the starting line-up against Norwich City.

It will be a big test for the former Chelsea marksman.

This reporter has been a big fan of Cole in the past, but when you compared Carroll to Cole against Fulham, it was like watching two players from very different divisions.

Not only did the players around Carroll seem buoyed simply by his presence and upped their game, Carroll’s contribution to holding the ball up, nodding it on and generally causing chaos was clear for all to see.

Too often Cole has been left isolated in the lone striker role and he has gone on record to say that he prefers to play up front with a partner.

But sometimes his inability to hold the ball up, albeit under pressure, has meant his team-mates cannot get up the pitch quickly enough to support him.

Cole was linked with a move away from Upton Park, as he is every year it seems, as soon as Carroll had signed on the dotted line.

But instead he welcomes the arrival of the new man.

“Every year, you have to have people challenging for places because it is healthy for the club,” insisted Cole.

“It’s better to be always on your toes and I welcome a challenge like Andy Carroll, because he is one of the best target men around in the Premier League and it is just going to reinvigorate me to be a better West Ham player.”

Carroll has made a positive impact, but he is out of the picture for a while now and Cole must battle with Mali international Modibo Maiga for the striking role at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Positive impact

Maiga has the advantage of already notching his first goal of the season for the club in the Capital One Cup clash against Crewe Alexandra, while he was also on target for Mali over the weekend.

But it is Cole who has the Premier League experience and that should get him the first crack of the whip from manager Sam Allardyce against the Canaries.

Then, it is up to him to take his chance and show that he is still capable of scoring in the top flight.

Carroll, though, is a tough act to follow.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest West Ham news

Monday, May 25, 2015
Sam Allardyce during his final game at West Ham United (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

Sam Allardyce’s time at West Ham has come to an end after four years in charge. Here are the five favourites to replace him at Upton Park.

Monday, May 25, 2015
Jackson Martinez of FC Porto battles with Dante and Jerome Boateng of Bayern Munich (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

The Premier League season is over but silly season has just begun. Here are the latest transfer rumours from around the web.

Sunday, May 24, 2015
Sam Allardyce, the former West Ham manager  (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Sam Allardyce is to take an extended break from football after parting company with West Ham.

Sunday, May 24, 2015
Sam Allardyce will not have his contract renewed at West Ham (pic: Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

Sam Allarydce’s contract will not be renewed, West Ham announced just three minutes after their defeat at Newcastle.

Sunday, May 24, 2015
Sam Allardyce will not have his contract renewed at West Ham (pic: Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

Premier League: Newcastle 2 West Ham 0

Breaking News

Friday, May 22, 2015

There are severe delays on the Central Line after a woman was hit by a Tube train.

Read more

What is this?

Near You Now

Competitions

You could take in stunning views of London over brunch at the Sky Garden

Celebrate lighter, brighter days with the chance of winning an indulgent brunch for two with a bottle of bubbles at Darwin, the cool and casual brasserie 36 floors up at Sky Garden.

Read more

Don't Miss...

West Ham Transfer News

Jackson Martinez of FC Porto battles with Dante and Jerome Boateng of Bayern Munich (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

The Premier League season is over but silly season has just begun. Here are the latest transfer rumours from around the web.

Read more
Gonzalo Higuain and Rafa Benitez

Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain reportedly had a furious confrontation with manager Rafa Benitez after their 3-1 defeat to Juventus on Saturday.

Read more
Arturo Vidal of Juventus FC celebrates (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

The latest transfer news and gossip on the final day of the Premier League season.

Read more
Alexandre Lacazette of Lyon  (Photo by Kaz Photography/Getty Images)

The latest transfer news and rumours heading into the final weekend of the Premier League season.

Read more
Alex Song of West Ham (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

West Ham loanee Alex Song has hinted that he will not be a Hammers player next season.

Read more