I once saw somebody on social media describe Andy Carroll’s style of football as like bringing a horse to a pub.
But Carroll nowadays is more carthorse than thoroughbred.
On his day, the lumbering West Ham bruiser can be one of the biggest handfuls around.
But when was the last time he had his day?
On Saturday evening, Carroll followed a terrible miss at Bournemouth the week before with an abject cameo against League One’s bottom side AFC Wimbledon.
He failed to impose himself on a defence that had conceded seven goals in their previous two games and was duly hooked at half time for Lucas Perez.
There was a time when Carroll was the ultimate impact player, a player made for cameos.
In the 2012 FA Cup final he rattled John Terry, scoring within minutes of his introduction and nearly forcing extra time.
The problem is that was seven years ago this year.
Carroll, again plagued by injuries, has scored four goals since April 2017 and is the wrong side of 30.
His limitations are now being more brutally exposed than ever.
Injuries have undoubtedly taken their toll but instead of improving the Hammers, Carroll now makes them painfully predictable.
When Carroll starts it has an inevitable trickle down effect on his team-mates who become horribly direct, bereft of all guile and nous.
It begs the question; has football moved on from his heyday?
The likes of Troy Deeney and Glenn Murray, both equally physical strikers, have prolonged their careers to maintain their effectiveness.
Carroll, in contrast, is his own worst enemy, his robust style producing injury after injury.
His West Ham contract is up in the summer but, on recent evidence, there won’t be many suitors willing to match his current six-figure salary.
Rumours of an emotional return to Newcastle will never go away but with Mike Ashley’s miserly financial approach and the presence of a direct upgrade, Salomon Rondon, that might remain a pipedream.
So what next?
Will he ride again? Or is he off to the glue factory?
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