Norwegian football’s star striker, John Carew, has been described as one of “Europe’s 26 most unwanted” football players by English newspaper The Guardian.
The 31-year-old Carew is currently without a team after being released from his contract with English Premier League club Aston Villa. The tall forward, who has scored 23 times for Norway in 88 internationals, had been on loan at another Premier League team, Stoke City, since January, and has previously played for French side Lyon, Italian team AS Roma and Spanish giants Valencia.
Carew fell out of favour at Villa following the appointment of Gerard Houllier as manager earlier this season. Frenchman Houllier was Carew’s manager at Lyon where the pair fell out, forcing Carew’s original move to England in 2007. The pair engaged in a public war of words at the end of 2010 before Carew was loaned out to Stoke. Houllier has since been replaced as Villa manager, but Carew’s contract was not renewed on its expiration at the end of the season.
While another English newspaper, The Independent, listed Carew as one of the top 23 players in Europe available for a free transfer this summer, The Guardian was far more critical. Their article began by praising Carew for his being “adept at linking the play” with the ability to “terrorise defenders with his heading ability,” but goes on to note that Carew “scored only once in 20 games for Villa and Stoke last season.” The paper adds that he “needs to stop relying on his size to find a way back from turning himself into Carsten Jancker” – a surely sarcastic comparison to a former German international forward who has much derided for his abject lack of technical ability and over-dependence on height and weight.
The Norwegian media have taken much interest in The Guardian‘s opinion. Carew was heavily scrutinized before Norway’s recent 1-0 loss in Portugal given concerns over his fitness and form, and the striker managed just 60 minutes in an unimpressive display against the Portuguese. He sat out the 1-0 friendly international win over Lithuania a few days later for reasons of fitness concerns, after photographs shown in newspapers suggested he had put on weight.
Carew’s agent has told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that the player is in no rush to find a club, but it is important to Norway’s European Championship qualifying campaign that Carew is back playing regularly at a good level. He has been linked with clubs in Turkey, as well as English Premier League sides Blackburn Rovers and Queens Park Rangers. Nonetheless, Norway’s manager, Egil “Drillo” Olsen, has spoken repeatedly of the importance of Carew experiencing consistent first team football, and Norwegian fans will hope that The Guardian‘s comments are off the mark.
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