Hitman finds his bullets - Simpson’s Soapbox

Liverpool's Andy Carroll runs off in celebration as he believes that he has scored their second goal of the game, only to see the effort ruled out by the officials during the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 5, 2012. See PA story SOCCER Final. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.
Liverpool's Andy Carroll runs off in celebration as he believes that he has scored their second goal of the game, only to see the effort ruled out by the officials during the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 5, 2012. See PA story SOCCER Final. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.
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ROY Hodgson has problems aplenty, with deadline day approaching as he prepares to finalise his first England squad for this summer’s European Championship in Poland and Ukraine.

Perhaps the most pressing difficulty is whether John Terry and Rio Ferdinand can comfortably play together at the heart of the England defence.

The issue is of the utmost seriousness, given that Terry will be accused in a court of law of racially abusing Rio’s brother Anton when Queens Park Rangers played Chelsea last October.

Not quite as controversial – but still a major talking point – is what to do about the enigma that is Andy Carroll.

Of course, if Carroll is really worth the £35m Liverpool paid Newcastle for him last year, then there would be no need for debate.

When a player changes hands for that sum, he should be an automatic international choice.

But, time without number this season, Carroll’s form has failed to live up to that audacious price tag.

Indeed, his form dipped so low he was regarded with some ridicule and suggestions that he was a total waste of money.

But when he came on as a substitute for Liverpool in Saturday’s FA Cup final against Chelsea, it wasn’t just a cameo it was almost a game-changer.

His muscular presence was apparent from the start as he netted and then ‘scored’ the now famous goal that never was.

On that type of form, Carroll would have to be named in the squad.

Having been out of the picture, he must now be very much in Hodgson’s thought process.

But then, if Fulham’s excellent Clint Dempsey, the perfect ‘old-fashioned’ centre-forward, happened to be English rather than American, then debate over Carroll’s selection wouldn’t even be an issue.

n IF Hodgson’s former club Blackburn Rovers fans feel sick about losing their Premier League status, think what the supporters of Wrexham must be going through.

They pushed Fleetwood nearly every step of the way this season, finishing second with 98 points and 17 ahead of third-placed Luton – soccer’s version of a country-mile in the Blue Square Bet Premier, in which only the champions go up automatically

And yet it is the Hatters who go through to the play-off final against York City after beating Wrexham over two legs.

What a job former Seasiders striker and now Wrexham boss Andy Morrell will have now picking up the Red Dragons after such a dispiriting experience.

Mind you, Wrexham shouldn’t really be entitled to take part in the Football League.

Shouldn’t they by rights be playing in their own Welsh League alongside Swansea, Cardiff, Newport etc?

After all, the likes of Aberavon, Bridgend, Llanelli and Neath wouldn’t be seen dead crossing the border from the Principality to inhabit the English rugby Premiership.