West Ham United may have exited the Capital One Cup at the third round stage on Tuesday night, but one positive was the sight of Andy Carroll starting a game again.
The striker made his first appearance from the off since injuring his knee in February and played over an hour as Slaven Bilic’s men were defeated 2-1 by Leicester City for the second time this season.
While Carroll was naturally disappointed with the end result, he was pleased to take another big step forward in his return to the fold.
“Obviously we’re disappointed with the result, but to get 60 minutes under my belt was good,” he explained.
“I didn’t get on against Manchester City and only had two minutes against Newcastle, so an hour is good and I feel fantastic.
“I felt good before I went out there. I’ve been training well and trying to get as fit as I can. I’ve been raring to start and was itching to get on last week as well, so it was pleasing to start at Leicester.”
Having watched from the sidelines as the Hammers scored 13 goals in their opening six Barclays Premier League games, Carroll is thrilled to be joining such a talented attacking unit.
He continued: “We’re a great team at the minute and the lads are playing well. They’ve got some great results apart from on Tuesday and as an attacking force they’ve been fantastic. It’s good to be a part of it.
“I’ve been looking forward since the start of the season to be back and now I am.
“That’s what I’ve wanted and what I’ve worked hard for. So now I’m trying to get in the starting eleven and stay there.”
As for the defeat to Leicester, Carroll admitted he thought the momentum was with the Hammers when they brought it back to 1-1 through Mauro Zarate.
He added: “When it went to 1-1, I think all the lads felt we’d go on to win it, especially with the way we’ve been playing.
“They got at us after half time and we were on the back foot for a lot of the second half. We did try to counter attack and had a couple of chances, but at the end of the day they scored a great header at the end of extra time and we’re out.
“The Premier League is the most important thing. Obviously we didn’t go to Leicester to get beaten, but we’ve just got to focus on the Premier League and make sure we carry on from the Man City game.”