LIVERPOOL STRIKER ANDY Carroll admits he is ‘nervous’ about returning to former club Newcastle United on Sunday.
Carroll, 22, left the Magpies 14 months ago for a British record transfer fee of £35 million but has struggled to make an impact at Anfield since his move, scoring just eight goals. Meanwhile, his former club has enjoyed a superb season, leading the Reds by eight points in the Premier League.
While Carroll admits he is happy to see his former club in the hunt for European football once again, he is unsure how the home fans will receive him.
“I don’t usually get nervous but this might be a bit different,” Carroll told The Telegraph. “All of my family and friends will be there but they’re so big on football that I’m not sure who they’ll be supporting.
“It’s great to see Newcastle doing so well. Obviously I support them, was brought up there and was lucky enough to play for them. They will always mean something.”
Although Kenny Dalglish’s side have struggled in the league this season, they lifted the Carling Cup in February and play Everton in an FA Cup semi-final in April. And, though Carroll admitted the club must do better, he believes that their success in the cups does indicate progress.
“We need to be higher in the Premier League and I think everyone knows that,” he said. ”We know we must win more games at home. But we have done very well in the cups so far, winning the Carling Cup and reaching the semis of the FA Cup. So there has been progress. If we were to win a double in the cups, it would give everyone a massive lift going into next season.
“As a player, the confidence winning trophies brings is huge. It gives you a lot of pride to say you were part of Liverpool’s history. I came here to win trophies and medals but I didn’t think it would happen so quickly.”
During his short career Carroll has had the opportunity to work under both Alan Shearer and Kenny Dalglish, and he says their guidance has helped his development as a player.
“I’ve been very lucky to learn from those two,” he told the Liverpool Official Magazine. ”OK, Shearer was only manager at Newcastle for a short time but his presence, his aura, was special.
“Dalglish always talks to us, whether it’s about training, matches or other things. He’s always there helping us, teaching something new.”