Andy Carroll: West Ham boss Slaven Bilic backs striker to stay fit

Andy Carroll
Andy Carroll has scored 15 Premier League goals for West Ham, including in a loan spell before his £15m move

West Ham striker Andy Carroll can stay injury free, says manager Slaven Bilic after the substitute's winner in the Hammers' 2-1 home victory over Chelsea.

The 26-year-old, whose career has been riddled with injuries, scored his first goal since January in his fifth game since returning from knee surgery.

"We changed the schedule and philosophy and the way of training," Bilic said.

"He always used to come back after five or six weeks of training, but it doesn't help him."

The Croat, who replaced Sam Allardyce in the summer, told BBC Sport: "He goes running into the box and fighting with people.

"Now he was training hard for six to eight weeks and came back in the team gradually.

"His quality was never in question. If he's in good shape now we have a good chance that he will be injury free for a long time. In that case, West Ham and England will benefit from that a lot."

Former Newcastle striker Carroll has only made 24 Premier League starts since his £15m move from Liverpool more than two years ago. The last of his nine England caps came in 2012.

Carroll - who came on midway into the second half and scored 10 minutes later - told BBC Match of the Day: "We've got a great atmosphere at the training ground.

"It's fantastic to be a part of. Slaven is a top manager - he analyses the opposition and then tells us how to beat them.

"We all thought we could beat them today. It wasn't about Chelsea, it was about us. We've had some great wins this season and hopefully we'll carry on. The way we're going, we've got a right shot at it [a high finish]. I don't see why not."

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