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What Newcastle United player Andy Carroll did in first training session with team-mates

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Andy Carroll joined in with the warm-up, the boxes and a passing drill with the rest of his Newcastle United team-mates on Tuesday and Steve Bruce admits it will be a 'big boost for everyone to get him on the pitch'.

The Newcastle head coach has been keen not to put a firm timescale on Carroll's comeback after the 30-year-old underwent ankle surgery earlier this year.

Following his deadline day move last month, Carroll has been doing double sessions at Newcastle's training ground and his ankle has not had an adverse reaction to physical work like it did previously.

Carroll took part in half of Tuesday's training session and Bruce admits the striker still has a 'bit to get over' before he can join in contact sessions again

"He joined in and joined in the warm-up and the boxes and then there was a passing drill he came into and he was a floater in the possession so he took part in half the session so that was his first real hint of being back in amongst us," he said.

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"Now, we've got to progress that and see where he is but it's calculating a gamble. It's a gamble I'm convinced after seeing him that he'll take some part somewhere and if we can hopefully get him on the pitch then great."

Carroll has not played since February and it has been a lonely road back for the striker, with countless hours in the gym and swimming pool, as he attempts to put his injury nightmare behind him.

Sitting down for lunch with Jonjo Shelvey, Rob Elliot and Karl Darlow on Tuesday after joining in with his team-mates for the first time on the training ground felt like another small step in his rehabilitation.

"Thankfully, with what he has had to put up with, he is a strong-minded individual and determined but no matter how determined you are or what you are, it's always difficult when you're carrying around an injury." Bruce said.

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"And it must be the difficult part for any footballer - let alone Andy Carroll because it's now plagued him unfortunately for the best part of two-and-a-half years. For me, it's the most difficult thing to cope with.

"When you're not involved, all you seem to be doing is spending long, long, horrible hours in the gym and it becomes a mental thing as much as a physical thing so thankfully he is strong enough to hopefully see it through. It will be a boost for everyone to get him on the pitch, that's for sure. "

Bruce saw Carroll's highly-incentivised deal as a no-brainer having had a longstanding admiration for his fellow Geordie, which dates back to the striker's first spell at Newcastle in 2008.

And the Magpies' head coach certainly did not forget Carroll's Boxing Day cameo when his Wigan side came up against him.

"I remember I was manager of Wigan and he came on and smashed us to bits and I thought, 'Oh my God. What is that? That is a bit of a throwback if I ever saw one,'" he added.

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"It's unfair to say he's old fashioned because that means to say everyone was like him. They weren't. Listen, playing against Andy Carroll at his best, for his time, was as good as you got. That's why he went for a British record fee at the time.

"He was mobile, he had a very, very good left foot. He had a decent balance for someone his size. Usually, when you're that big, you become a little bit unbalanced but Andy, physically, was a handful. How often have we seen it? Put it in the box and he was very, very good on getting on the end of it. "




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