West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini says he’s fully aware of what Andy Carroll can offer his side and has urged the striker to earn himself a new contract.
Carroll, who turns 30 in January, has been sidelined for four months with an ankle injury but returned in the Hammers’ defeat to Manchester City last month.
The powerful forward is set to enter the final six months of his £90,000 a week deal with the London club but there is an option to extend it by a further two years.
An injury to tallisman Marko Arnautovic may see Carroll given opportunities to impress in the coming weeks and Pellegrini says he hopes the England forward can prove himself between now and the end of the season.
“When you need to renew your contract, you must demonstrate why they are renewing your contract,” Pellegrini said on Thursday.
“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 and I hope he will be able to do it.”
When pressed on whether he sees Carroll as a potential starting option for his side, the Chilean added:
“If he can work in the normal way, of course he can be an option to start in our XI.
“Not only Andy Carroll but every player can be a starter when they work the whole week and week by week. 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. All the other defenders must be worried when they see Andy near their box.”
Carroll has managed 33 goals in 130 appearances since his arrival at West Ham in 2012 and one more strike will take him above his total tally for boyhood club Newcastle United.
The target man has nine England caps and featured for the Three Lions at Euro 2012.
He was once earmarked as one of the country’s most promising young footballers, but his physical style of play has seen his career plagued by various injury issues.
Next up for Pellegrini’s side is a home clash with Crystal Palace, with the likes of Carroll, Lucas Perez and Javier Hernandez all vying for a starting spot in Arnautovic’s absence.