Carroll: I could only name two Liverpool players when I joined from Newcastle in 2011

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The targetman is back on Tyneside after eight years away, and has spoken about the ways in which he has matured in the intervening period

Andy Carroll has admitted he didn’t know who his Liverpool team-mates were when he joined the club back in 2011, because he didn’t watch football.

Then 22, he moved from Newcastle for £35 million ($56m), taking over the number nine shirt at Anfield following the exit of Fernando Torres.

But despite having gained a reputation as one of English football’s hottest young prospects, he admitted to being fairly clueless as to what was going on in the world of football at the time.

“When I was here [Newcastle], I’d go home, mess about with my mates, play football, go out, whatever, but I’d never watch football, I never knew any players,” he told Newcastle’s official website.

“I’d come in on the Friday or wake up on the Saturday morning saying, ‘who are we playing?’ It was just completely oblivious to all the football that was going on. I would work at the training ground and knew my tactics, but until we had a meeting I didn’t know who we were playing, unless I asked someone.

“When I was in the helicopter down to Liverpool, I was like, ‘I know Stevie G[errard], I know [Jamie] Carragher. Who else?’ My agent at the time had to tell me, and I would get it on Google and find out the team.

“So that’s actually a true story. It’s bad because it’s Liverpool players, but it’s not disrespectful – I just literally didn’t watch football, so I didn’t know.”

Liverpool’s campaign in 2010-11 wasn’t a vintage one for the club. They finished sixth in the Premier League, were knocked out of both domestic cups in the third round – including a defeat to Northampton Town in the League Cup – and the Europa League in the round of 16.

Andy Carroll during Liverpool playing days

The likes of David N’Gog, Maxi Rodriguez and Sotirios Kyrgiakos were unknown to the youngster Carroll, who admits he has done some growing up over the past few years.

Having represented West Ham since joining initially on loan in 2012, Carroll is now back where it all began, and he says is better for his mistakes.

“I wasn’t ready [for the Liverpool move] at all,” he said. “But things happen like that. I went down there and it was like a whirlwind.

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“I was happy, just about to sign a new deal, and the next day I was gone. I’d just bought a house and, believe it or not, I’d just got a cat. It was in the house, and I never went back to the house – I left in the helicopter and my brother had to have the cat.

“I do have a daft side to me, a silly side to me, which will never ever go, and I don’t want it to, you know? I’m still a child at heart. But I’ve grown up massively. I’ve realised my mistakes in the past, and realised what I want to be, and what I am.”

“I was stupid, I was young, and I was carried away with the lifestyle that I had. Now it’s completely different. I’m actually a dad, I’ve grown up, and got responsibilities, so... I’ve got a purpose.”