With his trademark robot celebration and unsportsmanlike physique, Peter Crouch may sometimes not be taken seriously as a footballer, however his international record of more than one goal every two games is deadly
The Tottenham target man has notched 20 goals in 37 games for England and also found the net twice at the 2006 World Cup. Crouchinho kept his first team place in Germany for the first two games scoring his first international goal, it was also leaked after the tournament that the referees were to pay “special attention” to the striker due to his aerial threat with many decisions going against the ex-Portsmouth striker. Nevertheless he has not looked back and featured in the majority of England squads under Steve McClaren and Fabio Capello. This season the front-man has not lit the Premier League alight with his finishing, and a measly eight goals in 38 appearances for Spurs is not the kind of form the England Head Coach was looking for. With Emile Heskey both injured and out of favour at Villa Park, Crouchy could have certainly secured a starting place over his main rival with a few more goals.
This poor return in games also came in a season where the Lily whites achieved a European Champions League spot and scored over 65 goals. He has scored important goals for Spurs this year however, such as his late winner against fourth spot rivals Manchester City. The reported £40m goal was a poachers and many of Crouch’s have come this way for Tottenham this season as the tall centre-forward has a natural ability to be in the right place at the right time. His other technical qualities over Heskey and co. are his ability to produce something sublime such as the bicycle kicks he scored whilst at Liverpool, it is career defining moments like this that may have stuck in Capello’s mind. In taking Crouch to the World Cup he has a player who may be able to produce something out of nothing. Like Heskey Crouch does not score enough but he has much quicker feet and a better first touch and ball control. His movement off the ball is clever and can bring other players into the game, the ex-Liverpool striker is also willing to drop deeper to allow players to run past him.
A final reason for Crouch possibly starting at the World Cup would be his partnership with Jermain Defoe. This must have crept into the Italians thinking when choosing his squad, as the juxtaposed abilities of speed and power from Defoe is perfectly complemented by the cleverness and aerial ability of RoboCrouch. This is an unlikely occurrence due to Rooney’s form this season however Capello has spoken of his various match plans and the need for flexibility. It would not be the strangest decision to play all three if England needed a goal late on in games. Plenty of England’s target men have had better form this season such as Carlton Cole, Darren Bent (second highest English PL goal scorer) and Bobby Zamora but they are relatively untested for their country. Crouch alternatively has a fantastic England goal scoring record and is now in the top 20 England goal scorers of all time. He would also partner Rooney more adequately upfront than any of his rivals as he showed in the three one win against Egypt back in March, scoring almost instantly. The No 15 has now scored in his last six starts for England. The unfortunate news for Crouch is that the England Boss seems to favour Heskey and looks set to start this way come June 12, what is certain however, in an England shirt if Crouch gets a chance he is sure to put it away.