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Scouting report - Michael Dawson on Andy Carroll

Posted on 22 September 2017  - 12:45

Michael Dawson likened his first encounter with Andy Carroll to 'going 10 rounds with Mike Tyson', a bruising battle with the then 20-year-old striker in a 1-0 win against Newcastle at the Lane in April, 2009. Eight years on, Carroll remains a focal point for West Ham - so who better than our legendary former skipper to talk us through what to expect at the London Stadium on Saturday?

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Michael Dawson

- Joined Spurs from Forest, January 2005, debut at Anfield, April 2005
- Made 324 appearances in all competitions
- Captained the team in the Champions League, led us out v AC Milan in the San Siro
- Joined Hull in 2014, set to make 100th appearance for Tigers this weekend
- Capped four times by England, part of 2010 World Cup squad

Andy Carroll

- Gateshead-born, came through Newcastle's youth system
- Debut in 2006, made his name with 19 goals in 2009-10
- Big-money signing for Liverpool, January 2010
- Joined West Ham in 2013, 30 goals in 112 games since then
- Capped nine times by England, two goals

Below: Michael's latest duel with Carroll for Hull against West Ham last season

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Michael: "I remember that first game against him! I’ve played against Andy on numerous occasions now and although I never played against Duncan Ferguson (ex-Everton, Rangers, Scotland striker, now coach at Everton) I can imagine it being very similar to that. He’s an absolute handful. Every time the ball comes into the penalty area in the air, you can expect him to win it. You just have to make sure you are in position to win the second balls and the knock downs, that’s the danger.

"West Ham play to his strengths, they get the ball wide and when they cross it, as a defender, you are looking to get close to him and try to stop him taking a clear run at it. He’s so powerful and difficult to stop - he's the best at what he does by a country mile. If it’s an out-and-out jump, nine times out of 10 he will win that ball.

Below: Carroll in action in West Ham's 0-0 draw at West Brom last weekend

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"With that in mind, you have to try to stop the supply at source. If the ball does come in, it’s then about where he’s heading the ball from. If you can push up the pitch, then that header might not be too close to goal, so you are negating the danger a little. We often say it’s not the first ball in that’s the dangerous one, it’s the second phase.

"It’s about awareness and being in the right positions and certainly with players in there like Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, Spurs have that covered. West Ham are also dangerous if you sit off them but again, Spurs won’t play like that. They will be set up right and they'll be ready, for sure."