Mark Noble has insisted that his West Ham teammate Andy Carroll often receives unwarranted criticism as a result of his recent injury record.
Carroll has only been able to make 14 appearances in all competitions so far this season, completing the full 90 minutes just once. His difficult campaign was recently brought to a premature end after he underwent ankle surgery for a second time, raising questions over his future with the Hammers.
The striker's inability to stay fit has often been a source of frustration for West Ham supporters, however, writing in his column for the Evening Standard, Noble has insisted that the situation isn't necessarily as straightforward as it may seem.
"It’s a real difficult one for me because it’s so hard to see a player who, every day, wants to train, to play and do his best, for the club and himself, but who has been stopped from doing that by a succession of injuries," Noble claimed.
"The thing about Andy is that when he plays, he gives it 100 per cent but, if he is not fully fit, he can put himself in danger. It’s horrible when I see some of the comments about him.
"It’s not his fault he is injured. He’s such a big lad and his body just hasn’t allowed him to cope with the demands of playing regularly and that has severely limited his playing time."
Noble went on to discuss Carroll's current contract situation, as his deal is set to expire at the end of the season and there is no word over a potential extension.
"His contract, apart from an option, is up at the end of the season and it’s not the best of situations for him. But he knows that football, as important as it is, is not the only thing which matters."