As a top-class England international, Andy Carroll is comfortable playing in any formation.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to his first club Newcastle United, West Ham United's No8 revealed that he is loving life in Sam Allardyce's successful 4-3-3 system, where his outstanding talent and impressive physical attributes make him an influential figure.

Carroll's all-round skills mean he is as comfortable receiving a pass to feet as he is challenging for a cross with his head. The striker believes Big Sam is utilising him perfectly, pointing to West Ham's strong start to the season as evidence that the tactics are working well.

"Everyone talks about Big Sam's style being 'just launching it up' but you can see that it's not like that," Carroll told West Ham TV. during Part 1 of an exclusive interview that is available to view now. "We pass it into feet and pass it around and I have the ball at my feet enough to show what I'm all about.

"I obviously have Kev around to help us with a couple of one-twos and holding the ball up so I think that's what we're all about - it's not just about throwing the ball up and getting around what I am going to do.

"We're passing and moving and I think we're playing great at the minute."

Carroll's strengths were there for all to see during Saturday's goalless draw with Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City.

The 23-year-old caused untold problems for Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic, coming agonisingly close to netting his first goal in claret and blue when he saw one shot curl narrowly wide and an overhead kick deflected just past the post.

"I think it was a good game for me. I was involved a lot and had a few chances and we had the chance to nick the game. Kev's goal being disallowed was disappointing, but we played well and I thought I put myself about.

"Against Wigan we didn't really do much and it was disappointing, but City was a good game for me like the Fulham game.

"It was tough and was always going to be against players like Kompany. Like I said, we played well and had our chances and could have probably nicked it."

It is no coincidence that Carroll's good form has resulted from him being reunited with close friend and former Newcastle United team-mate Kevin Nolan.

The pair, who attended The Bodyguard musical with their respective partners in the West End on Wednesday evening, have been best pals since Nolan joined the Magpies in 2009. Carroll was naturally delighted when the duo joined forces again when he moved to east London in August.

When asked why a 30-year-old from Liverpool and a 23-year-old from Newcastle upon Tyne get on so well, Carroll explained that they share similar interests and an identical sense of humour. However, he pointed out that Nolan was not so friendly before he had broken into the Newcastle first team!

"I think we got closer when I started scoring goals and he thought he could be my mate then! He wanted to be my friend then, but before when I was sitting on the bench he didn't want to know us!

"We very rarely talk about football or music, to be honest. It's usually either me having a pop at him or him having a pop at me, or we're having a pop at someone! That's just what it is - banter!

"It doesn't really matter what anyone says to us, we just look at each other and say the same thing back at them."

Stoke City