Andy Carroll was reportedly close to a return to action for Newcastle before the coronavirus pandemic put the season and much of society on total lockdown.
Carroll had returned to training in the days leading up to the initial decision to suspend the season until April 3rd. It was later decided during a second meeting of Premier League clubs to extend that date to April 30th.
It has been reported that Andy was on a pay as you play contract that would trigger for another year if he made a certain number of appearances, believed to be 20.
The 31-year-old looked certain to reach that number making 13 appearances in the league and 14 overall by mid-January. However, what was reported to be a hip problem has kept him out of the team since his last appearance in the FA Cup win against Rochdale on January 14th.
The Chronicle’s Lee Ryder was recently asked about the likelihood of Carroll getting an extension with his hometown club. He provided an interesting detail about Andy’s injury:
I’d expect Carroll to fight for that deal in the last few weeks of the season.
He has been frustrated – like everybody else – about the testing times we are all in right now.
But he was close to a return from what I believe was a hamstring injury, more than the hip which was widely publicized.
The good thing is his ankle has not been damaged this season, and he should be in a position to trigger the extension.
There is also a feeling behind the scenes that even if he didn’t get the required game tally to extend it, the club may push the button on the deal anyway if he does well in the final few games.
Ryder reckons that it’s been Carroll’s hamstring that’s kept him out for the last two months. That would better explain why it’s taken so long for Andy to recover.
The talk of a hip pointer didn’t make much sense. Though Yoshinori Muto missed about five weeks after suffering a hip injury in the first game against Rochdale. He’s still not played since, but that’s due to team selection and not his injury.
Ryder seems to think that Carroll has a decent shot at staying with Newcastle if this season gets back underway, and Carroll plays well. However, that is a big if. I am starting to have my doubts we will see this season completed.
Planning for a return is one thing, and I fully support the Premier League keeping all of their options open. However, returning to action during a global pandemic is a whole other situation that could be very hard to justify pulling off.
Hopefully, we see the situation improve drastically over the next few months and reach a point where the games can resume safely and without risk to the players or the general public.