Andy Carroll may have played his last game for West Ham after yet another injury setback.
The former England striker has been missing from the Hammers squad for the last two matches, and manager Manuel Pellegrini has now revealed Carroll has an ankle problem.
Carroll, 30, will be out of contract in the summer and, having started only three Premier League games all season, he is not expected to be offered a new one.
Pellegrini was unable to put a timescale on Carroll’s return but his past injury record has raised fears that he will not appear again this term.
“Andy Carroll has an ankle problem,” said Pellegrini. “How serious we don’t know, I cannot tell you.
“We need to wait for some medical examinations and after that we will know.”
Carroll joined West Ham from Liverpool in 2012, initially on loan before agreeing a £15million permanent switch on a six-year contract.
In that time he has started only 84 Premier League matches out of a possible 266 due to a catalogue of injuries.
Yet while one career at West Ham may be coming to an end, another is blossoming following Declan Rice’s first England call-up.
The 20-year-old midfielder, who switched allegiance from the Republic of Ireland, is in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.
The youngster has only 42 Premier League starts under his belt but Pellegrini insists he is ready for the international stage.
“When you pick the squad for your country, you must choose the best players in their best performances in that moment, and I think that Declan deserved it,” added Pellegrini.
“It was a big decision for him to decide which country he was going to play for, but I think that his performance has allowed him to play at any international level because he is in a very good moment.”
Pellegrini is set to hand Marko Arnautovic his first start since January when the Hammers host Huddersfield on Saturday.
The Austrian forward has found himself on the bench since having his head turned by a potential big-money move to China during the transfer window.