Soccer AM: Dean Ashton on his coaching future and why he'd pick Carroll over Lambert for World Cup
Dean Ashton says he has rediscovered his love for football - and may return to coaching in the future.
Last Updated: 28/03/14 2:11pm
The former Crewe Alexandra, Norwich, West Ham and England striker was forced to retire at the age of just 26 in 2009 due to a long-term ankle injury.
He now spends his time commentating and playing golf but Ashton told Max and Helen that his brief foray into coaching at Norwich may well not be his last.
"Norwich were brilliant - they let me come in and shadow some of the coaches," he said. "I enjoyed being back at the club, it was brilliant.
"But once I got out there I still felt like I should be playing. I just found it quite hard to really get enthusiastic about the coaching when I was thinking that way.
"I just thought I don't really want that - when I finish I'd rather do something that I really enjoy and can be enthusiastic about.
"Even if I waited five, six or seven years I would be 35 or 36 so I would still be quite young . I will certainly keep myself within coaching and look at all of the things that are going on. I don't want to leave it and then come to it five years down the line and then think I'm well out of the loop."
Ashton, who is currently in the process of making personalised golf equipment for the amateur golfer, added: "Football has always been my passion - it has just taken me a couple of years to get over finishing and to start enjoying football again. I love being involved in the game again.
"Right now, though, I prefer golf. I love it. I couldn't turn down going to the Masters but I'd quite like Gary Neville's job, though."
Ashton played for England at U17, U19, U20 and U21 before earning his only senior cap against Trinidad & Tobago in 2008.
So if it came down to a straight choice between Southampton's Rickie Lambert and West Ham's Andy Carroll for a place on the plane to this summer's World Cup, who does he think manager Roy Hodgson should go for?
"I'm really looking forward to it. I think the younger players that we've got in the squad, especially going forward, are really exciting.
"If Roy Hodgson can get it right formation-wise and player-wise I think we can do really well. You can't help but enjoy watching the World Cup. It's such an entertaining event.
"It's so tough to choose between Rickie Lambert and Andy Carroll because Andy hasn't played as much football.
"Rickie has been outstanding. He hasn't dropped off at all. Whenever he's played for Southampton he's been brilliant; technically he's really good. Finishing wise he's outstanding.
"But Andy Carroll for me has got something that nobody else has got. I think he's unplayable. I just imagine other teams around the world hating it when they come up against him. He's a real option if you want to go a bit more direct, as well."