Manuel Pellegrini has challenged Andy Carroll to earn a place in his West Ham United starting XI.
The No9 made his first appearance of the season as a substitute in Tuesday’s 3-1 Premier League win over Cardiff City at London Stadium.
And with first-choice centre forward Marko Arnautovic being ruled out for a month after suffering a hamstring injury in the same game, Pellegrini says Carroll has an opportunity to push for a starting place.
“Not only Andy Carroll but every player can be a starter when they work the whole week and week by week,” said the manager, who saw Lucas Perez scored twice against Cardiff after replacing Arnautovic. “So, if he can work in the normal way, of course he can be an option to start in our XI.
“For the moment, I think he can be a very important substitute. We know what he can give to our team. Near the box, he is dangerous. The other day, in 15 minutes, he had two shots and a header.
“All the other defenders must be worried when they see Andy near their box. He can give a lot of important things for our team.”
We know what Andy can give to our team. Near the box, he is dangerous
Carroll’s contract with the Hammers expires at the end of the season and Pellegrini says a strong six months from the Big Man is imperative if he is to extend his six-year stay in Claret and Blue.
“When you need to renew your contract, you must demonstrate why they are renewing your contract,” said the manager. “We know what Andy can give to our team and now he must demonstrate he is able to do it week by week. He has now the last six months (of his contract) and I hope he will be able to do it.”
Another player who is hoping to earn a deal with the Irons is French midfielder Samir Nasri, who has been training with the first-team squad over the past few weeks.
Should he prove his fitness, Pellegrini confirmed he hopes to sign the two-time Premier League champion when his suspension comes to an end in the New Year.
“[Nasri] is working very hard and I hope we will be able to sign him at the end of the month.”