Is Carroll worth the gamble?

Newcastle United
Andy Carroll has paid tribute to the West Ham supporters after it was confirmed he will leave the club this summer.

Andy Carroll says he has "unfinished business" at St James' Park after securing a return to boyhood club Newcastle on transfer deadline day.

The 30-year-old returns to his hometown for a second stint as he looks to get his injury-blighted career back on track.

Carroll came through Newcastle’s academy before making his senior debut in a UEFA Cup win over Palermo in Novermber 2006 at the age of 17.

He became the club’s youngest ever debutant in European competition and immediately got tongues wagging among the Newcastle faithful.

A first senior goal was to follow soon after in a friendly when he fired a left-footed shot past Juventus stopper Gianluigi Buffon in July 2007.

The Gateshead-born hitman spent the first half of 2007-08 on loan with Preston, scoring once in 12 appearances, to further his development.

Newcastle handed over 14 Premier League appearances to Carroll the following campaign, but he really burst on to the scene in 2009-10 when the Magpies dropped into the Championship.

Carroll hit 17 goals to help his club secure an immediate return to the top flight and followed up with 11 goals in the first half of 2010-11.

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalgleish was clearly a big admirer of the former England international and spent £35million to take him to Anfield.

However, Carroll’s career took a nosedive on Merseyside as injuries struck and he was restricted to just 44 appearances – starting 18 times – over the course of three seasons, scoring six goals.

West Ham offered Carroll a lifeline in 2012-13, signing him on loan, before paying £15million to do a permanent deal at the end of that season.

Injuries continued to prove problematic during his time in east London and he was released this summer on the expiration of his contract.

It’s often said that you should never go back, but surely things can only get better for Carroll, who has been handed a one-year contract by Newcastle.

His return to action will be delayed due to injury. However, Bruce, who splashed big money on signing forward Joelinton earlier in the summer, is hoping Carroll can play his part over the course of the season.

St James’ Park is likely to be the scene of protests on Sunday when Newcastle host Arsenal in their opening game of the term, as fans continue to voice their frustration towards unpopular owner Mike Ashley.

Carroll’s signing won’t do much to silence their discontent although he will get a warm reception when he finally makes his second ‘debut’.

It is often the case that owners facing a tough time will look to bring in ‘local lads’ such as Carroll and Bruce to try and appeal to the fans, but issues at Newcastle are too far down the road for token gestures to work.

After finalising his move on Thursday, Carroll was quick to assure fans he has matured during his time away from the club.

It’s not a deal that is likely to turn Newcastle into a solid top-10 side but, in a similar way to Peter Crouch, his height will always make Carroll a threat if good delivery is sent his way. If he can chip in with five goals from the bench, Bruce will feel it was a deal worth doing.