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Rickie Lambert and Andy Carroll go head-to-head as Southampton visit West Ham
One is the most expensive British player of all-time, while the other is the joint top English goalscorer in the Premier League.
On Saturday, Andy Carroll and Rickie Lambert, two of the country’s top strikers, will go head-to-head as Saints visit West Ham.
In terms of their transfer fees, there is no comparison.
Carroll, on a season-long loan at West Ham from Liverpool, cost £35m when he made his move from Newcastle to Anfield in January 2011.
Lambert, on the other hand, was just a little over £1m when Saints plucked him from Bristol Rovers in August 2009.
A paltry sum when placed next to Carroll’s fee, but still a lot for the club at the time.
“Rickie was a 28-year-old striker with a limited CV and I had to convince the chairman to spend the money,” Pardew has said.
But after 92 goals in 165 appearances, a prodigious display of marksmanship that helped power Saints from League One into the top flight, no one would doubt that it was money well spent.
With four Premier League goals already this season – a total that no Englishman can exceed – it looks even more like one of the best investments in the club’s history.
Carroll, however, is a different story.
Since his record move to Liverpool, he has scored only six top-flight goals.
Saints legend Terry Paine, who works as a Premier League pundit on South African TV, believes Carroll’s £35m price tag was “way over the top”.
But Paine has warned that Carroll remains a destructive force, with Irons manager Sam Allardyce the prime candidate to fully exploit his potential.
“In Sam Allardyce, I believe West Ham are going to get the best out of Andy Carroll,” he said.
“They will get the ball in nice and early and it will probably be a little bit of route one.
“It’s not always the damage he does himself in terms of goalscoring, it’s the second ball off him that causes so much trouble.
“You’re not always going to out-jump him, and there are times when he’s going to get the touch that matters.
“So, defensively you have got to be very tight and aware when the ball comes off him.”
Carroll, who boasts an imposing 6ft 4in frame, scored 19 goals for Newcastle in the 2009/10 Championship season, as the Magpies won promotion back to the Premier League.
He then netted 11 times in the first half of the 2010/11 campaign, prompting Liverpool to move for him after they lost Fernando Torres to Chelsea in a £50m deal.
While Lambert’s experience of the Premier League is relatively minimal, his goal record more than stacks up against Carroll’s.
With four already this season – Carroll has none, but missed a large chunk of time with a hamstring tear – the 30-year-old Saints forward also scored 31 times last term, as the club won promotion from the Championship.
Paine believes the real battle at Upton Park will not so much be between Lambert and Carroll, though, but the opportunities that each team can provide for them.
“Really it’s about the service,” he said. “You have got to play to their strengths.
“Neither of them are the quickest, but they are both very good targets.
“I would say that Rickie Lambert is a little bit better on the ground than Andy Carroll.
“He leads the line well and brings other people into the game. He’s probably ahead of Carroll in that department.
“I wouldn’t want to give either of them too much freedom in the box.”
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