Jan Vertonghen says Andy Carroll is a 'tough' opponent ahead of Tottenham v West Ham

Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen in action against Southampton in the Premier League
Image: Jan Vertonghen says he is ready to do battle with Andy Carroll

Jan Vertonghen is prepared for a scrap against Andy Carroll on Saturday but says he is not afraid of the West Ham striker.

Carroll made his second start at West Brom last weekend since, returning from five months out with a groin injury and is set to lead the line again at the London Stadium, live on Sky Sports Premier League.

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West Ham have got the better of Spurs in this fixture for the last two seasons running and Carroll could be key to them pulling off another derby victory.

"He's a great striker, very difficult to play against but I think our defence have shown we can play against every type of striker so I'm not afraid," Vertonghen said.

"He's a very big guy. He's a fighter. He's very strong in the air and I think he fits the game that West Ham wants to play.

Slaven Bilic hopes West Ham can put an early dent in Tottenham's title ambitions.

"Hopefully he can stay fit for a while for West Ham, he's struggled a bit I think on that, but he's a good player and a tough player to play against."

With just two years remaining on his existing contract, injury-plagued striker Carroll faces a make-or-break season at West Ham, according to boss Slaven Bilic.

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Andy Carroll and Andrea Ranocchia battle for possession during the Premier League match between Hull City and West Ham United on April 1, 2017
Image: Slaven Bilic has hinted Andy Carroll must stay fit to earn new deal

Carroll, who joined West Ham in a £15million deal from Liverpool, has missed 114 matches through a catalogue of injuries since signing for the Hammers in 2012.

Bilic said: "He's got two years and this is, to be fair, his season to be fit, to stay fit.

"Because if we are talking about his contract, the question mark about him is his fitness, about how much he is available during the season."

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