Carroll can be Roy's Andy man
One of Kenny Dalglish's final acts as Liverpool manager was to deliver the reference that pushed Andy Carroll in England's Euro 2012 squad.
New England manager Roy Hodgson, wrestling with the inherited problem of Wayne Rooney's two-game suspension for his red card in Montenegro, was pondering with his attacking options.
Carroll had long been considered one half of the biggest pair of transfer busts in British football history when Liverpool spent £35m of the £50m they received from Chelsea for Fernando Torres on the raw Newcastle United striker as the window closed in January 2011.
Signs of late-season rejuvenation, plus a shortage of strikers exacerbated by Darren Bent's ankle injury, persuaded Hodgson to contact his successor at Liverpool for a form guide and character reference.
Dalglish spoke in glowing terms of the 23-year-old to clear any lingering doubts in Hodgson's mind that Carroll could be of service when Euro 2012 gets under way early next month.
Carroll will hope to cement the good impression given by Dalglish when Hodgson's England reign starts with the friendly against Norway in Oslo's Ullevaal Stadium on Saturday.
And the need is made even more urgent by lingering worries over the ankle injury Manchester United's Danny Welbeck sustained in the derby defeat at Manchester City that makes him a doubt for to face Norway.
Carroll scored four league goals for Liverpool last season. Photo: Getty
Hodgson himself admitted he has been "parachuted in" and the demands of completing the final weeks of his time at West Bromwich Albion means the 64-year-old has effectively started a crash course in shaping his team.
After Norway, there is only the friendly against Belgium at Wembley before the opening Euro 2012 game against France in Donetsk on 11 June.
And he revealed when his squad was unveiled that his selection of strikers had caused him more soul-searching than any other position, saying: "Forwards have been a major problem. In an ideal world you balance out the outfield squad 8-8-4 or 8-7-5. I said Rooney was always going to be in the squad so I had to rob an area elsewhere to make up for him."
So top of his list of immediate priorities will be being sure in his own mind about how to shape his attack as Rooney kicks his heels on the sidelines against France and Sweden before, presumably, returning for the final group game against co-hosts Ukraine.
Carroll will be desperate to get at the Norwegians to confirm he has overcome 12 months of under-achievement at Liverpool and the evidence was stacking up in his favour towards the end of Dalglish's reign.
He scored winning goals at Blackburn Rovers and in the FA Cup semi-final against Everton before transforming Liverpool - too late admittedly - when he came on as a scoring substitute in the 2-1 FA Cup final defeat against Chelsea at Wembley.
For good measure he then ran Chelsea captain John Terry ragged three days later as Liverpool beat Chelsea 4-1 in the Premier League.
Hodgson's selection of Carroll ahead of Stoke City's Peter Crouch and even Norwich City's favourite underdog Grant Holt drew some adverse comment - but he believes the Liverpool striker offers him a variety he can use to England's advantage.
"Andy is a different type of player," he said. "He has aerial ability but also the ability to make the runs behind defenders and use his power. I spoke to Kenny at some length about him. I didn't know too much and you can be tricked by perceptions of players - by what you hear or read about them - but Kenny praised him for being serious as a professional so I had no reservations.
"The conversation with Kenny put my mind at rest with regards to criticism he has faced for extra-footballing activities. That was very important for me.
"He is the type of player who balances up with the other forwards we have. He will give me other options because of his target play and ability."
And Hodgson also dismissed his long early struggle at Liverpool as he insisted: "I shouldn't be confronting him with the failures of the early part of the season. I should be encouraging him for the successes of the latter part."
Hodgson faces several dilemmas as he crystallises his thoughts ahead of Euro 2012, with Chelsea's Champions League winners not having to join the squad until Tuesday. This opening friendly takes on even greater importance as it is the first serious chance for England's new manager to put his ideas into action.
The door is ajar for Carroll - now he will hope England's friendly in Norway offers him the chance to barge through and move even further to the front of Hodgson's Euro 2012 plans.
Phil McNulty will be reporting on England's friendlies against Norway and Belgium and throughout Euro 2012. You can follow him on Twitter: @philmcnulty