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England’s Unlikely Hero In Waiting: Peter Crouch Deserves Chance to Prove Doubters Wrong

COS contributor Josh Dean believes that the White Hart Lane man has what it takes to succeed at the 2010 World Cup.

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Sports News - May 25, 2010

For me, Spurs striker Peter Crouch deserves more credit than he is given. The lanky striker has always impressed for England, and while Capello has been thinking of playing Rooney up top alone, he may want to rethink.

With the game yesterday against Mexico, Crouch has 38 appearances for the three lions, 18 starts, and 20 appearances off the bench. He has scored a fairly impressive 21 goals as well, but when you disect the statistics it gets better for the 6’7″ forward. Most will think of Crouch as a ‘Plan B’ or even a ‘Plan C’, but in his 18 starts he has scored 17 of his 21 goals, and off the bench he has scored only 4 goals in 20 games, which leads me to believe he and Rooney should start up top together. Crouch has proved he is more effective as a starter than off the bench, which means he might get the nod.

Many times I have seen Rooney partnered with Heskey, and Heskey seems to match him well by simply being a big target man and holding up the ball for Rooney. While Heskey can probably do that slightly better than Crouch can, Crouch’s predator instincts have led to a much higher goal scoring record. In 57 appearances, Heskey bagged seven goals. Only two have been after 2003, which were against Malta and Kazakhstan, obviously not the competition England will face in South Africa.

What I am trying to say is Crouch and Rooney can form a strong partnership like Rooney and Heskey, yet score more goals. While Crouch can act as a target player, hold the ball up, and win it in the air, he is really a 5’7″ striker trapped in a 6’7″ striker’s body. He has superb ability with the ball at his feet, flashy acrobatic skills, and predatorlike goalscoring instincts, which most people overlook due to his beanpole figure. He will compliment Rooney well by holding the ball up and dishing it out, but he will bring spark and flash which Heskey clearly lacks.

Another point which has to be made is that the service behind the two is quality. Adam Johnson, James Milner, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard can produce quality balls onto the head of Crouch, while Lennon and Walcott can produce a great quantity. Crouch and Rooney will certainly form a great partnership when given the chance.

After Jermain Defoe’s woeful performance, Crouch will certainly be the second striker if Capello chooses to go 4-4-2, and if Rooney gets injured, he may be alone up top.

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