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West Ham United forward Andy Carroll credits Slaven Bilic for return to fitness

West Ham United striker Andy Carroll praises manager Slaven Bilic for his patience over his injury problems, which has allowed him to return to the pitch this season.

West Ham United striker Andy Carroll has said that Slaven Bilic's training regime has helped him return to fitness this season.

The 26-year-old has been blighted by injury problems since his £15m move from Liverpool, which has limited him to just 37 appearances since June 2013.

Carroll has returned from a knee ligament injury to play four times from the bench in the Premier League, including netting the winning goal against Chelsea last time out.

The England international has praised the methods of Bilic to help him get back on the field following his struggles over the past two years.

"[Bilic] has been very good with me, he has understood that I was out for a long time," Carroll told Sky Sports News. "He hasn't forced me back into training, I've been doing training on my own schedule and maybe missing a day during the week. He's understood what I need, and he's been great.

"I would train every day after coming back from injury and play at the weekend [in the past]. Maybe that wasn't the best thing to do, but it's what I wanted and the manager wanted. To be honest, I still want that, but he has put a stop to it. I'll be in the gym while the lads train.

"Rushing back last season was hard on my body, and this season I have taken it easier. I have been training now for a good couple of months and I feel good. This is the longest I have had without being rushed back in. It's great to be back on the pitch - I had eight months in the gym by myself, and those were dark days."

West Ham face Watford in the Premier League later today.

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West Ham United Joint Chairman David Sullivan listens to a question during a press conference in east London to announce the new deal between Newham council and West Ham United football club on March 22, 2013
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