The tallest player in England’s history, the lanky Peter Crouch may not always be easy on the eye but he is certainly effective and not just at winning balls in the air – he has the best goals-per-game ratio in Fabio Capello’s squad.
A late bloomer, the 29-year-old has shown strength of character to win over the many sceptics he has encountered in a career that has taken in seven clubs. Tottenham Hotspur, his current club, actually released him when he was 19, letting him leave for £60,000 before they eventually bought him back for some £9m in 2009. In between Crouch had spells with Portsmouth (twice), Aston Villa, Norwich City (loan), Southampton and Liverpool. He made his England debut against Colombia in New Jersey in May 2005, shortly before joining Liverpool and subsequently enjoyed a memorable 2005/06 campaign that concluded with an FA Cup final win over West Ham United.
He appeared in four of England’s fixtures at Germany 2006, heading a belated breakthrough goal in the 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago. Crouch, who appeared for Liverpool in the 2007 UEFA Champions League final against AC Milan, hit four goals in four South Africa 2010 qualifying appearances and gave Fabio Capello another reminder of his scoring ability by coming off the bench to hit a double in March’s 3-1 warm-up win over Egypt.
He may not be guaranteed a starting place but, given his knack of finding the net in an England shirt, football watchers worldwide should be braced for the possible return of the ‘robot’ goal celebration should Crouch take the field in South Africa.