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Toon boss waiting for striker to adapt to top-flight football...

Newcastle United manager Chris Hughton has warned striker Andy Carroll that he still has a lot to learn as he attempts to make a mark on the Premier League this season.

Carroll is expected to be the spearhead of Newcastle's forward line this season just as he was in last year's Championship which saw the 21-year-old net an impressive 19 times for the Magpies.

Carroll came close to getting off the mark in his side's opening game against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Monday when he headed wide, unmarked, from a Joey Barton corner. However, the newly-promoted side rarely created anything afterwards and this is the type of lesson Hughton believes Carroll will have to learn from.

"When you look at what he was up against on Monday night in [Nemanja] Vidic and [Jonny] Evans, both of whom I rate as top quality players, that's the sort of quality he is going to be up against," Hughton told Eurosport.

Hughton will be hoping his side finally get off the mark in their fixture against Aston Villa on Sunday and expects an equally tough test for Carroll as he goes from battling against the likes of Nemanja Vidic to veteran defender Richard Dunne.

Yet Hughton believes that Carroll, a crowd favourite after his exploits last season, can impress the Toon faithful even more once he gets off the mark.

"He showed how he had grown last season, but he also showed that there are areas of his game that he needs to improve," he added.

"As a young man, he does have a great willingness to learn. He is not a player who plays with fear, but it's all about producing.

"What I would like to be able to say at the end of the season is he has improved even more, but that will take time.

"Over the season, he will have ups and downs, but I would like to feel he is a player who is very capable of improving."

Newcastle boast an impressive unbeaten run at St. James’ Park consisting of 16 league and cup games and they will hope to add to that on Sunday when Villa make the trip to Tyneside.

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