Jose Enrique should be on Red alert after Andy Carroll's Anfield ordeal
ANDY Carroll's boos problem at Anfield carried a potent warning for Jose Enrique, the Newcastle player most vulnerable when the transfer window re-opens later this month.
For all the debate that has bubbled away surrounding the sale of United's former number nine over the last four months the verdict delivered by United's travelling support was damning and definitive. I was under the impression that Newcastle fans were split in their opinions of Carroll but judging by the ruthlessness of the chants aimed in his direction on Sunday it seems like a black and white case for the Toon Army.
Some neutrals sniped that the Newcastle support must have short memories given the crucial goals he has scored over the last 12 months. Others, presumably swayed by the player's text message sob story after joining Liverpool, asked what Carroll was expected to do given the club's decision to accept the Reds riches.
Both miss the point. Few in the Anfield away end would have been enamoured with the way Newcastle acted in the whole farrago, not least the contradictory messages that came right from the top during the month of January.
But they damned Carroll because he made empty noises about being a Magpie for life; because he spun a line about living the Geordie dream of donning the number nine and following in Alan Shearer's footsteps. A matter of weeks later he was gone, having handed a transfer request in to the club's hierarchy.
It is this double talk that prompted the fury of the Newcastle fans - and it is this that Enrique must avoid as he heads towards an uncertain future.
Despite the speculation surrounding his future El Toro remains popular with Newcastle fans and it is a deserved acclaim.
An excellent pro, he is likeable, diligent and applied himself superbly to the Championship challenge last season. He has never, despite some dark suggestions over the weekend, given less than his all in black and white.
But if he is to leave - and I was told by a senior St James' Park source last week that it is "inevitable" - then it needs to be handled correctly. There must be no talk of being happy in the North East before leaving or of being forced out by the club's lack of ambition. Enrique, who has too freely spoken of wanting to stay at Newcastle for life, should also spare us the patronising spiel about being heartbroken by having to leave behind such supportive fans. If they mean so much then stay and work towards pushing the club back into the elite.
I have been critical of the way the club was prepared to sell Carroll when they could have built the club around him. It was a good price for a striker of limited Premier League experience but it cost the club in other ways - and it was depressing to find out that the line being spun by Spurs insiders, that Newcastle were always willing to sell at the right price, was correct.
In this instance I have reason to believe they are genuine when they say they want Enrique to stay. A big contract will be offered to him but I suspect that the left-back - desperate to seek a bigger stage to further his international ambitions - has already made his decision.
It will be a huge disappointment to see him leave, another harsh reminder of Newcastle's position in the Premier League's new world order. But if all parties given an honest account then at least the rancour of Anfield can be avoided.