Andy Carroll reveals he wanted to fail Liverpool medical nine years ago out of dread of leaving Newcastle
Newcastle striker left for £35m in 2011 dreading the thought of moving away from his hometown club, and from that day on always knew he’d return to St James’s Park
The 30-year-old is back at St James’s Park this season and has made two Premier League starts since being offered a lifeline by Magpies boss Steve Bruce, with the striker looking to repay that show of faith following his injury nightmare at West Ham.
Carroll made 84 league appearances across seven seasons in east London, an average of just 12 games per campaign, and a troublesome ankle limited him to three games in 2018/19 and seven the season before.
But ahead of Saturday’s visit of Crystal Palace to the north-east, Carroll has revealed the events that led to him dreading the prospect of leaving Newcastle in 2011 when Liverpool signed him for £35m.
“Do you know what, I was injured at the time, and all I'm thinking is, ‘Please, just fail the medical’,” Carroll told the Daily Mail.
“The minute I got on that helicopter I wanted to come back. I knew it had to happen. Whatever age, I needed to walk back on that pitch and play for Newcastle again.
“I remember leaving here (Newcastle's training ground) in Kevin Nolan's car because loads of people were outside. We went to his house and watched it on TV. I was like, ‘I'm not going’. I'd just bought a house, and a cat the day before!
“But then I was told, ‘You're going’, and that was that.”
Carroll’s time at Liverpool did not go to plan. Having made the switch to Anfield in January 2011 as a replacement for the Chelsea-bound Fernando Torres, he completed just one full season with the club in 2011/12 before being sent on loan to West Ham in a move that would eventually become permanent.
But despite his dread at the time of leaving his hometown club, Carroll doesn’t regret the move, insisting that it was the making of him as a man after realising he didn’t to grow up.
“Listen, I would have rather stayed at the time and all the way to the helicopter I'm thinking, ‘What is happening? What am I doing?’,” he added.
“But looking back, and how it shaped me as a player and a person, I would honestly still do it. I probably needed to get out of the city to grow up.”
Part of Carroll’s nightmare final years at West Ham included him being the victim of an attempted armed robbery while driving his car home from the club’s training ground. In November 2016, two armed thieves chased Carroll on motorbikes after confronting him at a set of traffic lights. Fearing for his life, Carroll drove back to the training ground, hitting multiple parked cars on the way and driving on the wrong side of the road in an effort to evade his pursuers.
“You fear for your life,” Carroll recalled. It was 25 minutes being chased by two people on bikes pulling guns out. I was nearly home, so I spun around and started driving back towards West Ham's training ground.
“I was clipping cars, going through red lights, speed cameras, overtaking on the wrong side.
'I was driving down a dual carriageway and couldn't get back on the right side because of the railings. I was coming to a hill and cars are flying past me and I haven't got a clue what is on the other side, that's scary. I'm dodging cars and lorries are coming towards me. All the time these bikes are still with me. Thankfully, I made it back to the training ground.
“My family were worried, ‘Were they targeting you? Was it a one-off? Are they gonna target the house when Billi (Carroll’s fiancée) is at home with the kids?’. Even now, when a bike drives past, I s*** myself to be honest.”