Carroll braces himself for call from Capello
NEWCASTLE'S No 9 Andy Carroll believes he is ready to make the step-up to senior international football if Fabio Capello picks him for England's forthcoming Euro 2012 Qualifier against Montenegro. Thursday brought the news that Carroll had been omitted from Stuart Pearce's Under-21 squad for their European Championship play-off matches later this month, fuelling speculation he will be included when Capello names his squad on Monday. The Italian has been monitoring the striker's progress closely and with question marks over the fitness of Wayne Rooney and injuries to Jermaine Defoe and Bobby Zamora, Carroll could be the answer to England's shortage of strikers. Despite the hype surrounding a possible call-up, Carroll insists he is focused on doing a job for the Magpies, but admits he feels ready should his country come calling. "I don't really know. I have to wait and see what happens," Carroll said. "It is not really on my mind. If I get picked I get picked. I have my job to do here. "Everyone wants to play for their country but at the moment all I want to do is play football for Newcastle. "Whatever is in front of me I will have a go. That is what my job is, I have to keep working at it every day. "Whatever anyone says I concentrate on myself. If I get a call up great if not I concentrate on myself.'' Carroll will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of previous Newcastle No 9's to play for England, including Malcolm Macdonald, Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer, who the striker hails as his boyhood hero. "I watched him at Newcastle and he was my hero when I was growing up,'' he said. "I watched him for England and thought yeah, maybe one day." The 21-year-old has excelled over the last 12 months after running riot in the Championship and, with four goals already this season, Carroll has gone some way to prove he is Premiership quality. The academy players believes regular first team football has been important in his development. "I feel good," he said. "Last season helped a lot playing week in week out and the lads I had around me helped too. "The manager has done a great job bringing everyone together as a team. It has been good playing in a team that has been so successful. "It is tougher this season, getting the No 9 shirt. I have just got to play my football like I did last season. "Last season I did all right. I didn't earn the shirt, to be honest I had to go in and ask for it." Magpies' boss Chris Hughton has opted to play Carroll as a lone striker this season with Kevin Nolan playing behind him. Although the striker admits he prefers playing with a partner, he insists he is still learning - both on and off the field and reveals captain Nolan has taken him under his wing. "It makes my job easier when there is someone up there with me,'' he claimed. "It was tough against Stoke being isolated a lot. But yeah, having a partner makes it easier. "I have just got to work back myself. I don't get many chances and there is no one to help. It is tougher and there will be fewer goals but that is the way we are playing at the moment." "I have some good lads around me, helping a lot. Chris and Colin are always telling me what is right and wrong. So obviously I am learning every day. "What have I learned To settle myself down off the field. On the field, concentrate more and keep working. That is what I have been doing and I think it has shown a little so far. "I have settled down, yeah. I have been trying and I think it helped me last season and this season I think I have matured a bit. "Everyone is really good in the changing room. We are all together, we socialise together. That helps a lot. "The lads who have been brought in have fitted straight in too which helps. "Kev Nolan has been great. Everyone is good friends. Really it is just about keeping my feet on the ground and stuff like that. He (Nolan) has done a lot in his career though."
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