Andy Carroll has plenty of talent, but it is now generally accepted that he has squandered most of it. His career has been plagued by injuries, but his work ethic has long been a question mark.
It has also been claimed that he just doesn't really like football. Judging by comments he has made on his return to Newcastle, this seems to be the case.
Carroll originally left the club on deadline day in January 2011, moving to Liverpool for a massive £35million. It was a shock transfer at the time, with even the player himself taken aback by the speed the deal had been completed.
The striker was not expecting to leave his boyhood club, and did not know a whole lot about his new team. In fact, he didn't even know who played for them.
When I was last here (in Newcastle), I’d go home, mess about with my mates, play football, go out, whatever, but I’d never watch football, I never knew any players.
I’d wake up on the Saturday morning saying, ‘who are we playing?’ It was just completely oblivious to all the football that was going on.
I would work at the training ground and knew my tactics, but until we had a meeting I didn’t know who we were playing, unless I asked someone.
When I was in the helicopter down to Liverpool, I was like, ‘I know Stevie G, I know Carragher. Who else?’ My agent at the time had to tell me, and I would get it on Google and find out the team.
It’s bad because it’s Liverpool players, but it’s not disrespectful – I just literally didn’t watch football, so I didn’t know.
Some of this had to do with the whirlwind nature of the deal. Liverpool were in panic mode after it became evident Fernando Torres would leave the club, and Carroll was an attainable (if expensive) target.
Newcastle were never going to turn down the amount of money that was on offer, even if the player himself was out of the loop when it came to the negotiations. Here's how he recalled that day:
It was mad. I was in the gym on the bike doing some work and it came up on Sky Sports News – £20 million rejected, £25 million rejected, £30 million rejected. Everyone’s coming in saying, ‘what’s happening?’, and I was like, basically, ‘I’m not going anywhere, I’ve got a new contract here’.
And then suddenly it was, ‘go and see the gaffer’. Next thing I knew I was in a helicopter to Liverpool.
I was happy, just about to sign a new deal, and then gone. I’d just bought a house, I’d just got a cat. It was in the house, and I never went back to the house – I left in the helicopter and my brother had to have the cat!
Now that he's back in Newcastle, maybe he can finally be reunited with his beloved cat.