Slaven Bilic has revealed that five senior players will miss the Premier League opener on Sunday, with Michail Antonio, Manuel Lanzini, Cheikhou Kouyate, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho still working their way back to fitness.
On Andy Carroll on Slav said: “Andy is a bit further behind but not a lot. At one stage in the pre-season or even last year, he was way behind but now it looks better. He is training individually, still, but he is basically doing all the movements with the ball and all that. If it continues like this, he should train with us next Wednesday.
“He will not start from zero. OK, he didn’t play for a long time, but he will be in OK condition fitness-wise. Of course he needs to train with the guys, because it’s one thing to feel what you are doing individually and another to be part of the group training.
“Since March, it is the most promising situation regarding Andy. Of course I wanted him to be fit for the start of the pre-season, but it, unfortunately, wasn’t the face. Now, there is a light or a goal which is very near. If it goes well and according to plan, which we hope and expect, then it’s all about how he looks on the pitch regarding the co-ordination.
“Knowing Andy from before, he always need a maximum of ten days or two weeks to come back playing, but that was also one of the reasons why he was getting injured again. It’s about balance.”
About Sean Whetstone