Andy Carroll should go to the World Cup, insists West Ham boss
Sam Allardyce says striker offers something different as he scores in 2-1 win over Sunderland
West Ham United moved closer to Premier League safety and kept Sunderland in the relegation zone with a 2-1 away win on Monday.
Andy Carroll, formerly a striker with Sunderland’s arch north-east rivals Newcastle, headed West Ham into an early lead and Mohamed Diame made it 2-0 to the London club shortly after half-time.
Sunderland substitute Adam Johnson pulled a goal back for the hosts in the 65th minute to the joy of the Stadium of Light crowd but they were unable to add to that.
Victory took 11th placed West Ham onto 37 points, three short of the traditional survival mark of 40, but the result meant Sunderland stayed second bottom on 25 points, four shy of safety with eight games remaining.
The goal was only the second scored by Carroll, but Hammers manager Sam Allardyce suggested that, as a classic old-fashioned centre forward, Carroll could yet add something to England manager Roy Hodgson’s squad for this June’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
“If you want alternatives, Andy gives you one,” Allardyce said. “He’s unique in many ways. Not many can receive the ball and head a ball as good as he does, especially with quality balls in the box ... If he plays every week, scores goals, hopefully he’ll go to Brazil.”
Allardyce also thanked Hammers co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold for standing by him rather than changing managers as have several top-flight sides this term.
“From our point of view, the co-chairmen have always been solid and never made me feel under any pressure.
“We’ve had an eight-game run and got 15 points, which is fantastic at this stage of the season. It’s got us out of trouble and we will now strive to see how many more points we can pick up.”
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet insisted his side hadn’t played like a team threatened with the drop.
“It’s difficult to accept, sometimes when you see a team at the bottom they have no spirit, heart and give up. I don’t think it’s possible to see my team giving up. “
The game was only nine minutes old when Carroll rose highest to head in Mark Noble’s corner.
But Sunderland were convinced they should have had a penalty when Hammers midfielder Kevin Nolan appeared to handle inside his own area.
But referee Howard Webb rejected Sunderland’s pleas for a spot-kick.
“It was clear, deliberate,” said Poyet. “He [Nolan] tried to play the ball with his hand.
“You would need to ask the referee. It was easy to see but that’s the way it’s been,” the former Uruguay midfielder added.
“I hope we get some luck; a decision from the ref or a deflected shot goes in. It’s about winning now. We have a chance and will go to the end.”