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Carroll’s World Cup chances improving but Lambert still ahead

| 01.04.2014

There is no better time for those players on the fringes of making England’s World Cup squad to hit their best form than the season’s run-in, and that’s exactly what West Ham striker Andy Carroll appears to be doing.

The Irons’ £15m record signing turned in his best performance of a tumultuous campaign in a crucial victory over Sunderland, thumping home a trademark header before turning provider for what proved to be the match winner.

Unsurprisingly, the clamour for Roy Hodgson to take the pony-tailed target man to Brazil this summer has already begun in earnest.

Carroll is a 9/4 shot to make the final 23 for the World Cup and although he has finally started producing the goods for West Ham – who now look sure to survive the Premier League drop – he must add to his two-goal tally so far this season in the closing six matches.

The reason being that over at Southampton, Carroll’s main competition for a place on the plane has not only scored 13 times for club and country during another terrific season on the south coast, but he’s also hit form at the right time too.

Like Carroll, Rickie Lambert has notched two from his last four league appearances and as his 7/4 odds suggest he must surely still be ahead of the Hammers forward.

It’s widely perceived that there will only be enough space in Hodgson’s squad for one of the two target men and Carroll is the one who still has most to prove before that decision is made.

If Carroll can finish the season like a goal-grabbing express train, then he has the previous tournament history to give Hodgson a big selection headache, but right now he has to be behind Lambert in the pecking order.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.