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West Ham’s Carroll ‘probably targeted’ by armed motorcyclists

West Ham and England striker Andy Carroll

Andy Carroll has not played for West Ham since 18 August

West Ham striker Andy Carroll was “probably targeted” following claims he was chased by armed motorcyclists after training on Wednesday.

Police are investigating the alleged incident, which happened to the England forward, 27, at about midday.

“I don’t think it was a coincidence and he was chased for a long time,” said West Ham boss Slaven Bilic on Thursday.

“He was very brave and came back to the training ground. He is smiling today and is in a good environment now.”

It is understood police were called at 12:45 GMT after Carroll returned to the club’s Rush Green training ground.

The former Newcastle and Liverpool forward is recovering from a knee injury, having not played in the Premier League since the opening weekend of the season.

West Ham have increased security at their training ground, but Bilic said the incident should not stop players continuing their normal routines.

“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.

“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?”

Bilic added that Carroll would continue his rehabilitation and expects him to be “back on the pitch in two weeks”.

Carroll’s last international appearance was against San Marino in a World Cup qualifier on 12 October 2012.