By Rob Stewart
Former Newcastle United manager Glenn Roeder believes that Liverpool striker Andy Carroll should study former Anfield hero Michael Owen's goalscoring methods in order to fill the void left by Luis Suarez on Merseyside.
Roeder worked with both strikers during his reign as Newcastle boss and while he is convinced Carroll will silence the critics who have lamented his impact since his £35 million move from Tyneside, he feels the Geordie targetman can speed up the process by copying Owen.
With Suarez suspended for the visit of Newcastle to Anfield on Friday night after admitting an improper conduct charge, Carroll will have a chance to justify his hefty price tag against former team-mates – and Roeder is certain that he can do so by emulating the former England striker, who is now plying his trade at Manchester United.
“If I was Andy I would get hold of a DVD and have a really good look at Michael Owen’s game outside the penalty box and study Michael’s game because there is a lot he could pick up from him,” Roeder told Goal.com.
“Michael plays the most simple game that you could imagine a striker could play and yet he has been ultra effective.
"He hardly ever gives the ball away, he has a lovely first touch, he drops the ball off to his team-mates and then he gets into goalscoring positions. And that is it. When the chances come he invariably mops them up - it is a great template.”
Roeder, who saw Owen come to prominence as a member of the England coaching staff at the 1998 World Cup finals, continued: “Michael never tries to do the things that he can’t do. Michael plays to his strengths. He exposes his strengths and doesn’t expose his weaknesses, which is what Andy should strive to do.
“So Andy needs to receive the ball, drop it off and get back into the penalty box and adopt a goalscoring position. Then it’s a case of job done. He will score goals, particularly in the air and off his left foot.
“When he is at his best he is virtually unplayable in the air. Andy played for me as a really young player against Sol Campbell and John Terry when Newcastle were up against Portsmouth and Chelsea and neither could get near him in the air.
"There are not many strikers who have got the better of Sol Campbell or John Terry in the air, so that speaks volumes about Andy’s aerial prowess.”
Red alert l Carroll will be out to help Liverpool thrive without banned Suarez
Carroll moved to Liverpool last January as Fernando Torres headed to Chelsea in a £50m deal and after overcoming a thigh injury, a brace of goals in a 3-0 defeat of Manchester City raised hopes he could become a darling of the Kop, but that has failed to materialise this term.
Roeder, though, is adamant that he will come good under the auspices of Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish but has called for fans to be understanding.
“First and foremost you have to remember that he has the ability to succeed at Anfield,” added Roeder. “When you do the pros and cons of him as a footballer he has enough in the pros column to make a success of his career at Liverpool.
“He is still only 22 years old so he is still a very young man to have that £35m price-tag around with him.
“But Kenny is experienced enough and I think will be able to get Andy to respond to what he wants him to do. It might be a slower process than what everyone wants but Kenny will be very protective of him and that augurs well for Andy.”
Roeder believes the training ground will prove to be the platform for a prosperous future for Carroll, who has lost his place in the England squad following a dip in form.
“Whatever you say about Andy I found him very good to work with at the training ground and I don’t think anyone had a problem with him at the training ground when I was at Newcastle,” Roeder said.
“He enjoys being coached and he enjoys doing extra work and he needs to because even though £35m has changed hands for Andy, at his age he couldn’t be the finished article. You can not be at your best at the age they bought him. Liverpool bought him with a view to the future.
“Obviously Andy has had to buy into that fact he that won’t be playing all the time and when he is out of the side he has to do extra work at the training ground to improve. He has the capacity to become better.
“As well as being brilliant in the he has got unbelievable strength and power in that left foot of his. The right foot needs a lot of work on it but if you’re not in the team you’ve got plenty of time to work on it on the training ground and I am assuming that the coaching staff will be working on it.
“Sometimes we over-complicate things but to me it all seems very simple to me. There is no magic pill you can take to become a better player, otherwise we would all be taking them. It will come down to how hard Andy is prepared to work. As Gary Player, the golfer said, 'the harder I practice the luckier I get' and there is a lot of sense in that.”
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