Slaven Bilic says Andy Carroll must now concentrate on staying in shape after the forward impressed in West Ham’s win over Liverpool.
Striker Carroll has scored two goals in two games, including the crucial second in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Liverpool – causing Bilic to brand the England international “brilliant” – since returning from his latest injury absence.
The 26-year-old has been dogged by fitness problems since moving to Upton Park in 2013, while questions have been raised in the past about his lifestyle and how he looks after himself away from football.
But Bilic now finally has his key forward fit and firing – and wants him to stay that way.
“Now he looks fit to me,” said the Croatian boss.
“Basically we are talking a lot about him; ‘Andy this, Andy that, Andy for England’, but now he is fit and it is all about him now.
“Is he going to look after himself, work hard, train, rest, to maintain his fitness, or to even make it better? And then, and only then, he will become a great asset for us.
“It is up to him. But I expect him to stick to what he was like recently. He would be very, very stupid to do otherwise.”
Michail Antonio nodded West Ham in front after 10 minutes, and Carroll killed off his former club when he thumped home a header from Mark Noble’s cross 10 minutes after half-time.
“That’s two back-to-back wins which is fantastic and two goals for me, which is obviously even better for me personally,” the big frontman told West Ham TV.
“It’s nice that the manager was pleased with my performance. I put a shift in and so did all the lads and he’s just delighted with the three points, as is everyone.
“I got another 90 minutes under my belt and it’s much better than training. You can only get match fitness through games and I’m feeling good.”