Football

Bilic: Carroll is a brave man

West Ham boss says striker is not in a state of shock after gunpoint ordeal

Slaven Bilic thinks Andy Carroll is a "really brave man" after the West Ham striker's gunpoint ordeal.

Carroll was targeted by armed motorcyclists who confronted him at a junction and attempted to rob him as he drove home from training on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old sped off and was pursued through the streets as he returned to West Ham's Rush Green headquarters to seek the help of security staff.

Hammers manager Bilic revealed the rest of the squad were shocked at the news, but said Carroll was in good spirits despite the drama.

"He was brave because they asked for his watch with a gun and he put the pedal down, and he didn't want to give him the watch," said Bilic.

"So, for me, it's not about the watch but that's very brave.

"He got chased for 15 or 20 minutes, it wasn't like 10 seconds, so it was probably planned.

"I know that he was very brave to do what he did. He came back to the training ground and it stopped. But he's good, he's okay, he's not in shock and he acted as a really brave man.

"We're all asking him the questions about it and he's smiling, he's not in a state of shock. Of course, he's in a good environment now he knows it's not going to happen here.

"When we heard it yesterday, of course we were all shocked.

"Sometimes you hear about that happening in a foreign country... That it's happening far away, but not England, so we were all like, 'Here in London, how is that possible?'. Unfortunately, it is a problem."

West Ham have beefed up security at their training base, but Bilic admitted there is little else that could be done to prevent players being targeted by thieves.

"What can they do? He didn't go somewhere that it would be likely to come into those situations or problems - he just drove home from his work at the training ground to his house," said Bilic.

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"He was stopped a couple of minutes from his house, so what can you do? What should they do? Live an isolated life or stop going to grocery stores or driving cars by themselves or have 10 bodyguards or whatever?

"To be fair, it's very good when the players want to be linked with normal people and the fans, to mix with them in pubs and all that after the games.

"The fans and the players love to feel that bond between themselves and, if we lose that, what's the point in playing football at all?"

Carroll has been out injured since August, but has had injections in a bid to speed up his recovery and Bilic hopes he will be back in action after the forthcoming international break.

"He will continue to do his rehab, he is progressing well, he's back on the pitch," said Bilic.

"Not with us, but he's running and had no negative reaction since he started his running.

"So in two weeks, we are expecting him to be back on the pitch with us." - PA Sport.

He was brave because they asked for his watch with a gun and he put the pedal down, and he didn’t want to give him the watch... He got chased for 15 or 20 minutes, it wasn’t like 10 seconds, so it was probably planned.

— Slaven Bilic on Andy Carroll’s gunpoint ordeal

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