KEVIN NOLAN SORRY FOR UPBEAT TAKE ON ANDY CARROLL MOVE
Newcastle captain Kevin Nolan has apologised to the club's fans for his upbeat assessment of Andy Carroll's move to Liverpool.
Boyhood Reds fan Nolan told Liverpool TV he was “delighted” for Carroll, who was joining a “fantastic club”.
But the comments angered Newcastle fans upset at losing their hometown hero.
“If fans don't like it, I apologise,” said Nolan. “I'm getting quite sick of the Andy Carroll saga. I just want to put it to bed and get on with it.”
He added: “The last thing I want is to start upsetting our fans because they have been brilliant.”
Carroll helped Newcastle win promotion last season, has scored 11 Premier League goals in 19 appearances this season and won his first England cap in November.
He became the most expensive British player in history with his £35m transfer from St James' Park to Anfield on Monday.
“There's no-one more disappointed than me,” said Nolan. “Not only have we lost a top player but I've lost a good mate who was very close.”
The pair developed a close friendship after the 22-year-old Carroll was granted bail last October on condition he lived with Nolan. Carroll's charge for assault on an ex-girlfriend was eventually dropped in December.
Meanwhile, Carroll – currently out of action with a thigh injury – says he does not feel pressure to replace former Reds favourite Fernando Torres. 606: DEBATE
Nolan is the captain of Newcastle United, what was he doing on Liverpool TV congratulating them on getting our [former] player? Totally out of order
Torres was idolised by the Liverpool fans before his sudden and acrimonious £50m departure to Chelsea on Monday.
Carroll was signed from Newcastle for shortly after Torres left, but the 22-year-old says he will focus only on what he can bring to Anfield.
“Torres was a great player but I need to concentrate on my own game and play the way I know I can,” said Carroll.
However, the Gateshead-born forward is not fazed by the price tag, which also made him the eighth most expensive player in the history of the game.
“It was a lot of money but I need to do what I have to do to prove the money was worth it,” he said at a news conference to introduce himself and fellow striker Luis Suarez, signed from Ajax for £22m.
“I am here to score goals and create chances for the team and that is what I can do.
“I have scored goals at Newcastle and that is what I want to bring here – we'll just have to wait and see [whether the transfer fee was worth it].”
Reds manager Kenny Dalglish added that he had no qualms about the fee he paid for Carroll, who arrived at Anfield carrying a thigh injury.
Dalglish 'disappointed' with Torres exit
Dalglish also took the opportunity of the news conference to take a swipe at the media, who he felt had been unfair in their reaction to Carroll's arrival.
“I'd like to reassure Andy we are more upbeat about Andy coming than I think yourselves [the media] are, because every question seems to have negativity in it,” said Dalglish.
“We have no reason to be negative about Andy signing for Liverpool. It is a great signing for us, as Luis's is.
“We will look forward to getting him fit, up and ready for work and he'll play when he's good and ready.”
Despite claim and counter-claim about his departure from St James' Park, when pressed on Thursday Carroll brushed aside questions over his exit, saying he would prefer to focus on making a fresh start at his new club.
“I have got massive respect for Newcastle, they are my team and my home club and I'm not really going to talk about what happened there,” he added.
“It means a lot to me but I am a Liverpool player now and that is what I have to concentrate on.”
Carroll, who has one England cap, says he is still unsure of when he will be ready to return. But he adds that when he does, only then will it truly hit home that he is a Liverpool player.
“I'm working hard at the minute in the gym at Melwood,” said Carroll.
“I need to get my fitness up and when I finally make my debut with the number nine that's when it will hit home that I'm here and I'm here to stay.”