sport

Carroll backed for England

Stewart Downing has backed his West Ham United team-mate Andy Carroll to be named in England's squad for this summer's World Cup finals

Carroll has been overlooked by England boss Roy Hodgson since returning to fitness in January after a long injury lay-off.

The former Liverpool and Newcastle man has not played for England since October 2012 and Southampton's Rickie Lambert has emerged on the international scene during Carroll's time on the sidelines.

Carroll has scored only two goals since returning to action, but Downing believes his lack of goals will not harm of chances of making the trip to Brazil as he is different to anyone else on the squad.

"He knows that Roy Hodgson is a big fan of his and I think if he stays fit, even if he didn't score between now and the end of the season, I still think he is a big threat for England and I think he will probably take him," said Downing.

"That is my own opinion. I just think he needs to keep playing well and take his good form into the World Cup.

"If you put it in that area, he gets on the end of it. He is a target to hit. I think he is in with a hell of a chance of going."