Andy Carroll opens up on £35m Liverpool transfer as he makes bizarre team-mates confession | Football | Sport


Andy Carroll left to join in January 2011 for a then-club-record £35million in a move that not only surprised fans but also apparently the player as well.

The striker, who was aged 22 at the time, had played an important role in Newcastle’s promotion from the Championship in the previous season and during his first campaign in the Premier League had scored 11 goals in 19 league games.

During the same window Liverpool had sold Fernando Torres to Chelsea for £50m and used the money to buy Carroll from Newcastle and Luis Suarez from Ajax for £22.7m.

However, Carroll has admitted that at the time he didn’t watch football and apart from Reds’ legends Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, the striker had no idea who else was in the Liverpool team.

At the time Liverpool were managed by club legend Kenny Dalglish, who had assembled a team that also included Pepe Reina, Dirk Kuyt, Lucas Leiva, Craig Bellamy and Martin Skrtel.

But Carroll, who has recently rejoined his home-town club on a one-year deal, admitted at the time he barely watched any football and hardly knew any players.

“When I was last here (in Newcastle), I’d go home, mess about with my mates, play football, go out, whatever, but I’d never watch football, I never knew any players,” Carroll said.

“I’d wake up on the Saturday morning saying, ‘who are we playing?’ It was just completely oblivious to all the football that was going on.

“I would work at the training ground and knew my tactics, but until we had a meeting I didn’t know who we were playing, unless I asked someone.

“When I was in the helicopter down to Liverpool, I was like, ‘I know Stevie G, I know Carragher. Who else?’ My agent at the time had to tell me, and I would get it on and find out the team.

“It’s bad because it’s Liverpool players, but it’s not disrespectful – I just literally didn’t watch football, so I didn’t know.”

Carroll claims that he hadn’t expected to leave the club after signing a new contract, but then unexpectedly found himself on a helicopter to Merseyside.

“It was mad. I was in the gym on the bike doing some work and it came up on Sky Sports News – £20 million rejected, £25 million rejected, £30 million rejected,” he added.

“Everyone’s coming in saying, ‘what’s happening?’, and I was like, basically, ‘I’m not going anywhere, I’ve got a new contract here’.

“And then suddenly it was, ‘go and see the gaffer’. Next thing I knew I was in a helicopter to Liverpool.

“I was happy, just about to sign a new deal, and then gone. I’d just bought a house, I’d just got a cat. It was in the house, and I never went back to the house – I left in the helicopter and my brother had to have the cat!”

Carroll only managed to score six goals for Liverpool in 44 Premier League appearances, before he was loaned out to West Ham, who subsequently bought in for £15m in the summer of 2013.

The striker has battled with injuries during the course of his career and has only twice managed to play more than 20 league games in a season for the Hammers.

After six years at the east London club Carroll only managed 142 appearances and 34 goals, before West Ham decided to release the 30-year-old this summer.

Carroll returned to Tyneside on a free transfer on deadline day and the Newcastle academy graduate is now hoping to carry on where he left out eight years ago.

“I really enjoy just getting involved and throwing myself around,” Carroll said.

“You need to be in the mix. You see most teams now trying to look for the smaller, more athletic players.

“It’s nice to know there’s some managers out there who appreciate that that’s not what it’s all about, and that you can change it up, chop it up.

“I actually think there needs to be more players like this.”

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