Alan Shearer has urged England boss Roy Hodgson to pin his faith in Andy Carroll, insisting Euro 2012 is "made for" the Liverpool striker.
A fine end to the season with Liverpool earned Carroll a place in England’s 23-man party for the European Championship, but he was left a frustrated spectator for the tournament opener with France as Danny Welbeck was deployed in a lone striker role. Welbeck performed with credit as he had little to work with as France dominated the contest.
With Sweden up next, the onus is on the Three Lions to attack and Shearer feels Hodgson should go for the greater physical presence of Carroll in tandem with Welbeck.
Writing in his column in the Sun, Shearer said: “I fear I may be becoming like a broken record banging the drum for Andy Carroll but let us have a look at the facts. Poland, England, Ireland, Germany, Ukraine and Croatia twice all scored headed goals. All bar one, were from very good deliveries too. Big men getting on the end of good crosses.
“We play Sweden next and look what Andriy Shevchenko did to them. He is 35 now and when strikers get older it is that pace over 20 yards that goes. He didn’t cause Sweden a problem by getting in behind their defence.
“But over a few yards, he beat Olof Mellberg and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to get on the end of quality crosses to head Ukraine to victory. We can defend those situations much better than Sweden did.
“What about us getting those balls in at the other end? Joleon Lescott’s execution with his head for our goal was superb. But, right now, this tournament is made for Carroll. Every defence seems to be struggling with the aerial threat. I would not have him in there at the expense of Danny Welbeck either - but alongside him.
“I thought Welbeck was our man of the match against France. His movement was excellent, as was his hold-up play and how he brought others into the game. For a first game in a major tournament it was a fine display from him and he’ll grow into the competition and get better. While he may not have tested the keeper in the way he would have wanted, his all-round play otherwise was good. He was doing a job for the team leading the line. In the second half, he simply did not have enough support to do anything in front of goal. But he didn’t half work to help relieve the pressure at the back.”© ESPN