Sam Allardyce has admitted that Andy Carroll was reluctant to leave Liverpool and join West Ham on loan in the summer transfer window, but has challenged the striker to prove his quality at Upton Park.
The 23-year-old endured a difficult year-and-a-half spell at Anfield following his £35 million switch from Newcastle, and after the arrival of new Reds boss Brendan Rodgers, was made surplus to requirements at the club.
West Ham’s early attempts to land Carroll were unsuccessful, with the England international reported to prefer a return to Sports Direct Arena, however, the Hammers eventually landed their man on the penultimate day of the transfer window on a season-long loan deal.
And Allardyce believes he can show his worth to Liverpool during his time in east London, while also helping to secure the club’s Premier League survival.
“Andy wasn't really keen to leave Liverpool, which you can understand, because he was a big transfer from Newcastle and wanted to show what he could do there. Wanted to show Brendan what he could do,” Allardyce said.
"We tried in the early stages of pre-season, but it just wasn't to be at the time. I think our pursuit of Andy wasn't going to be successful until almost the death in terms of the end of the transfer window.
“But I think in the end he saw he wasn't going to get those opportunities at Liverpool. First-team football was what he wanted and what we could offer him, and ahead of a lot of other Premier League clubs we were able to seal a deal thanks to the quick work of [co-chairman] David Sullivan.
"Andy's matured a lot since I worked with him as a 19-year-old at Newcastle. He's been through the mill a bit, some [critcism] deserved and some harsh. But now it's all about his football, he's totally focused on it and he wants to be playing football, and playing first-team football.
“And for us to get him on loan is a major coup for a football club like us who are trying to establish ourselves back in the Premier League."
Carroll’s West Ham debut may have been cut short by injury, with a hamstring problem ruling him out for up to six weeks, but the former Bolton boss hailed his performance in the 3-0 win over Fulham as “one of the best” he had seen since joining the club.
"The lift that Andy gave everybody and the reception he got from the West Ham fans lifted everybody.
“For me it's probably one of the best performance I've seen since I've joined West Ham.
“We overran them in the first half and the quality of our goals said everything really and we missed even more chances to make it more than three."