The frustration that dogs Andy Carroll’s career was summed up by Saturday’s game at the London Stadium.
The striker’s form – four goals in four games – was sufficient to bring new England manager to Stratford. But Carroll was not around for his big audition.
Typically, Carroll missed out with a groin injury – only serving to advertise his fragility rather than his prowess in front of goal. Who envies manager Slaven Bilic breaking the news to the hitman?
However, West Ham's manager backed Carroll to do enough to keep reminding Southgate’s that the striker might be a good bet for the bench if nothing else as England prepare to unveil the squads for fixtures with Germany and Lithuania in March.
Bilic said: “He was disappointed but he is mature. He knows it’s not that he has had a great few games and now he needs Gareth Southgate to be here.
“He is a good player and he is going to show him in March, April, whenever, that he is a good player.
“He is not doing anything that he did not do last year. It is only that he is doing it more regularly because he is playing and available, apart from this game, for the majority of the games. He has enough time and Gareth also has enough time to come again and watch him.
“I want him to get picked for England. It’s a great thing for him. It would be a great thing for him and a great thing for the club.
“The positiveness and the confidence that every player gets when he gets a call-up for the national team is much more than the couple of days that he loses, or that he would use to rest. On the scale, the positives are much bigger.”
West Ham's exit from the FA Cup means they do not play again until February 25 against Watford.
That’s a couple of weeks to mull on a performance against West Brom that had enough good and enough bad to keep the season interesting. West Ham went behind early but showed great spirit to reclaim the lead only to see it disappear to a Gareth McAuley equaliser in the 94th minute.
Bilic saw the positives, as Sofiane Feghouli and Manuel Lanzini netted.
“What also pleased me is we don’t depend on one player. We have a team that can compensate when one of those players is not playing, even if it is Andy Carroll.”