ANDY CARROLL’S first goal against Sunderland might have been celebrated by the Newcastle fans who once cheered him at St James’ Park, but the Gateshead-born striker has revealed it got him into trouble with someone much closer to home – his mum.
While Carroll was raised as a Newcastle supporter prior to coming through the ranks on Tyneside, his relatives on his mother’s side of the family are diehard Sunderland fans.
After failing to score in three North-East derby appearances, Carroll finally claimed his first goal against the Black Cats when he headed home Mark Noble’s corner on Monday.
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But while the ninth-minute strike helped pave the way for a victory that has all but assured West Ham’s Premier League status for next season, the effect on Sunderland’s survival hopes has caused the 25-year-old some familial strife.
“My mum's whole side of the family are Sunderland fans,” said Carroll. “I've tried my hardest every time I've played against them, but it's the first one I've got against them and obviously I'm over the moon that we got the three points as well.
"The two wins this week have been great for us. We've done well, it's a great run and to keep that going until the end of the season would be fantastic."
Carroll also has a powerful personal incentive to maintain his form until the end of the campaign, with England boss Roy Hodgson due to select his provisional World Cup squad in the middle of next month.
Hodgson can submit an initial squad of 30 players before settling on his final 23-man squad, and if he opts to take a traditional target man to Brazil, it would appear to be a straight choice between Carroll and Southampton’s Rickie Lambert.
Lambert has claimed 11 Premier League goals this season, as well scoring for England in matches against Scotland and Moldova, but Carroll was influential in helping England survive the group stage at Euro 2012 and has performed impressively under Hodgson in the past.
“I'm feeling really good,” said the North-Easterner, who has only recently returned from a seven-month lay-off with a heel injury. “I've had three 90 minutes in a week, so I couldn't be any fitter to be honest.
“Obviously, I'm a bit tired but we get enough rest and do the right things. All the lads are a bit tired, as you've seen at the end, but we're working hard.
"It has been a tough season for me, not being fit, but now I've got a couple of goals, a couple of assists and I'm feeling great.”