West Ham striker welcomes challenge of Andy Carroll

Cole believes Liverpool loanee will reinvigorate his own form

West Ham striker Carlton Cole is embracing the challenge that the arrival of fellow forward Andy Carroll has brought, and believes that the competition can only drive him on to become a better footballer.

Until the last couple of days of the August transfer window, Cole was expected to be the main target man at Upton Park, but in one of the biggest moves of the summer, the Hammers negotiated a loan deal with Liverpool for Carroll to journey down south.

“I welcome a challenge like Andy Carroll because he is one of the best target men around in the Premier League,” said Cole.

“It’s just going to reinvigorate me to become a better player.

“Every year you have to have people challenging for places because it is healthy for the club. I’m a guy who believes in that and you could get complacent if you know you are going to play week in, week out. It’s better to always be on your toes.”

As well as Carroll, Hammers boss Sam Allardyce was busy elsewhere in the transfer market, bringing in attacking options such as Matt Jarvis, Modibo Maiga and Yossi Benayoun, to add to the likes of Matt Taylor, Kevin Nolan and Ricardo Vaz Te.

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And Cole admits that he is pleased with the club’s summer recruits and looks forward to them providing the service for him to thrive on.

“It’s looking tasty,” said Cole. “We’ve got a lot of players who can go forward and fit in.

“Vaz has started the season really well and has got three assists already and he’ll get his goals too because once he starts scoring he won’t stop.

“Yossi is a brilliant character and a great player as well – we all know that.

“He has finally come home and he’s back to where I believe he belongs.

“I played for a season with him before he went to Liverpool but he was really influential around the players and the team.

“Everything is looking fruitful in and around the club and I’m very happy to be involved.”

The one thing that Cole has been missing so far this season is a goal, and the striker hopes his luck will change at Carrow Road this Saturday, with the 28-year-old set to start against Norwich City in the place of Carroll, who has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.

“I’ve been having banter with Nobby (Nolan) in the changing room and he’s already on me,” added Cole.

“Last year we were bouncing off each other saying ‘I’ve got more goals than you, so what are you going to do about it?’

“We just spur each other on and every time I get the chance to play, hopefully I’ll get the chance to score and keep up with him.”

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