|Full name||Peter James Crouch|
|Date of birth||January 30 1981|
|Place of birth||Macclesfield, England|
|Height||2.01 m (6 ft 7 in)|
|Current club||Stoke City|
| Tottenham Hotspur|
Queens Park Rangers
| 0 ( 0)|
37 ( 6)
| England U21|
| 6 ( 1)|
The 6' 7 striker has attracted a lot of attention during his career for his height, but offers more than just aerial ability in his roles for club and country.
A nomadic player, Crouch has played for 11 teams during his career, but came full-circle when he returned to his first club Tottenham in July 2009. An FA Cup winner with Liverpool, the tall striker failed to make a lasting impression at Anfield and first rose to prominence in Southampton's relegation season of 2005.
It was then that he got his first international call-up and did enough to cement his place at the 2006 World Cup - scoring a hat-trick against Jamaica - but, despite impressing when given the chance, he has failed to nail down a starting spot. His unusual build gives his side a 'Plan B' though and he has the potential to cause problems to any defence.
Strengths: Height and aerial prowess, obviously, but he has quick feet and is more than the one-dimensional player many pundits make out.
Weaknesses: His scoring record is inconsistent, especially against the bigger teams, he lacks pace and he commits far too many fouls.
Career high: Picking up his first major trophy, the 2006 FA Cup with Liverpool.
Career low: Relegated by Southampton in 2005 after getting his first England call-up for his good form.
Style: Ungainly, imposing, skilful, an unusual blend of styles.
Quotes: "He may be unusual because of his incredible height, but the boy can also play. He has great feet for a big man, which is something you don't always expect from players as tall as him - not that there are many!" Former Chelsea defender Mario Melchiot, October 2005.
Trivia: Crouch made the robot dance famous after scoring against Hungary, but claimed he would only do it again if England were to win the World Cup, saying: "It's not about robotic dancing. It is about scoring goals and winning matches.
At the beginning of the 2003/04 season, Norwich faced a striking crisis. Attempts to sign new "20-goal per season" strikers over the summer fell short, David Nielsen quit to return to Denmark and Zema Abbey was injured at Sheffield United and would miss the remainder of the season. Injuries to Iwan Roberts and then leading scorer Mark Rivers, forced Norwich manager Nigel Worthington into the loan transfer market.
On Thursday 4th September 2003, Worthington unveiled Aston Villa striker Peter Crouch on a three month loan. The beanpole striker said "I am really excited to get the chance to start playing first team football again. I know Norwich are an ambitious club looking to improve on last season and I obviously hope to help them do that. Nigel is doing a good job and it was definitely the right decision for me to join the club. After I had spoken to him my mind was made up as what he said about the club sounded exactly what I was after. I have obviously watched Norwich on the TV and I liked the way they play, it's very similar to the way I play football." Peter made his debut for the Canaries on the 13th September 2003 scoring the first goal in the 2-0 home defeat of Burnley.
Peter's career began as a YTS trainee at Tottenham, alongside the likes of Paul McVeigh. He never made the Spurs' first team and dropped down a division in July 2000 joining QPR. Weighing in at less than 12 stone the towering striker may have looked ungainly but he quickly proved he had a good touch and an eye for a goal to go with his obvious ability in the air and after scoring 12 times in 47 appearances he was on his way to Portsmouth in a £1.5m deal. He continued his goalscoring form on the South Coast netting 19 goals in 39 matches.
This prompted Villa manager Graham Taylor to splash out £5million to bring Crouch to the Premiership in March 2002. Premiership goals have been sparse with just 2 goals in 26 appearances. Under new Villa manager David O'Leary, the frustration continued. Crouch made a brief appearance from the bench at Portsmouth on the opening day of the season but hasn't featured in a first-team squad since, with O'Leary having the likes of Juan Pablo Angel, Darius Vassell, Marcus Allback, Dion Dublin and Bosko Balaban at his disposal.
Crouch returned to Villa Park on 7th December 2003. Whilst sad words were said by Crouch about how he wished he could stay at Carrow Road, days later he was expressing his desire to break into the Villa first-team.
At the beginning of June 2004, it was widely reported that Norwich had agreed a £400,000 fee with Villa for Crouch and that Norwich were hoping to make it a double-swoop by also adding Crouch's teammate Rob Edwards. However Worthington stated that nothing was happening on the Crouch front. In the end, Peter returned to the South Coast joining Southampton for £2million on 9th July 2004.
Peter's form for Southampton could not prevent them being elegated, along with Norwich at the end of the 2004/5 season, but it was recognised by England manager Sven Goran Eriksson who selected Crouch for England's tour of the USA in May 2005. Newspaper speculation claimed that Liverpool were preparing a £6million swoop for Crouch but he was also linked with Wigan and Blackburn. It is alleged that Portsmouth have bid £5m and offered £25k per week for him to return to Fratton Park. Peter made his England debut in the 3-2 victory over Colombia on 31st May 2005 in New Jersey. Man City were the next club to be linked supposedly increasing their bid to £6m after Liverpool's £5m offer was rejected. West Ham allegedly made a cash bid in early July 2005 but were rebuffed with the player keen to join Liverpool. Despite late interest from Charlton and Middlesborough, he eventually signed for Liverpool on 20th July 2005 for £7million, signing a four year contract.
A good season on Merseyside followed with Crouch becoming a regular in the England squad, often coming on from the bench. On May 9th 2006, he was named by Sven Goran Eriksson in the England squad for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany. Crouch won his first major honour on 13th May 2006 when Liverpool won the FA Cup on penalties against West Ham after a 3-3 draw. Crouch had started for the Reds but was substituted having had a mediocre performance. Doubts by England fans were partially laid to rest when he scored in England's 3-1 win over Hungary at Old Trafford on 30th May 2006. He followed this up with a hat-trick against Jamaica in a 6-0 win at Old Trafford on 3rd June 2006, and even missed a penalty as well. He scored England's opener in their second world cup game, a 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago. England reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup but lost on penalties to Portugal on 1st July 2006.
Crouch continued his goal-scoring vein of form under new England manager Steve McLaren scoring twice in England's 4-0 demolition of Greece on 16th August 2006. He scored twice in the 5-0 defeat on Andorra on 2nd September 2006 and got the only goal of the game in England's win in Macedonia on 6th September. However Crouch had not had a regular place in Liverpool's starting eleven during the first half of 2006/7 and the rumour mill linked him with a January 2007 switch to Newcastle United. Although Crouch remained at Anfield, the People speculated on 4th March 2007 that Crouch would be one of Martin Jol's summer targets for Spurs, along with West Brom defender Curtis Davies.
Crouch was included in Fabo Capello's first international squad as England manager for the clash with Switzerland on 6th February 2008.
On 13th April 2008 the News of the World claimed that " Portsmouth are winning a three-way fight ahead of Newcastle and Aston Villa to secure the services of Liverpool striker Peter Crouch in a £6m deal this summer." The Portsmouth rumour resurfaced in May 2008 but Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez said that it would require £15m for any suitors to acquire Crouch. The People reported on 11th May 2008 linked Crouch with a move overseas to Villareal; with the player buying out his contract.
On 11th July 2008, Crouch re-signed for Portsmouth in a deal that could be worth to £11m. Liverpool are expected to initially receive in the region of £9m for Crouch, who joined the club from Southampton in July 2005 but only started nine Premier League games in 2007/8. The England striker has signed a four-year contract at Fratton Park. Crouch said: "It's fantastic to be back. I believe Harry gets the best out of me and think the best years of my career can be here. This club is going places and they can match my ambitions. The chance of regular first team football was part of the appeal. I know I'll have to work hard to prove myself in training, but I believe my best years are in front of me. I had a fantastic three years at Liverpool and I would not change it for the world. I am privileged to have played for such a top club. Towards the end I did not get as many games as I would have liked but I will only take good memories away. In no way am I stepping down, I feel I am joining a club that is going places with a new stadium, a new training ground and some very good players." Crouch scored 40 goals in 135 appearances for Liverpool.
On 31st May 2009, The People claimed that Crouch would be Steve Bruce's first signing as Sunderland manager using Ellis Short's finances for a £12m bid. He was also linked with a £11million pound move to spearhead Fulham's Europa League challenge (with the Cottagers said to be selling Bobby Zamora to Hull to part-fund Crouch's purchase.). In the end, Crouch returned to his first club Tottenham, reuniting with Harry Redknapp his manager at Portsmouth. The deal was completed on 27th July 2009 for an undisclosed fee rumoured to be around £9m. If so then this would take his total transfer fees to £35m, making him the most expensive English striker of all time. Crouch proved good value for money when he scored the only goal in the clash with Manchester City on 5th May 2010 with Tottenham winning the race with City for fourth place in the Premier League and a place in the Champions' League.
Crouch was included in England's squad for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and given the number 9 shirt, but only played in the draws with USA and Algeria - both as substitute.
On 8th August 2010, the News of the World speculated that new Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson would attempt to bring Crouch back to Anfield. The same paper reported on the same day that Crouch had romped with a teenage Spanish prositute whilst on a stag-do.
On 10th August 2011, Crouch was the subject of a bid, along with teammate Wilson Palacios, from Stoke City.
Flown From the Nest (August 18, 2011)
Are we addicted to Peter Crouch?
With his move to Spurs, the tall man with a good touch became the most expensive English striker in transfer fees. Is he worth it?
The transfer window has now been open for two months, burbling away in the background like the ambient whisper of some high-end water feature in the lobby of a very modern office building, only one producing the sound of people shouting and lying and gloating, rather than the soothing babble of a gently moving stream. This week the window reached one of its more reliable annual anchor points as Peter Crouch was sold (this time to Spurs) for a large fee (this time £9m). In the past it has been easy to laugh at Crouch in a friendly kind of way, to luxuriate in phrases like "beanpole hitman" and "gangling goal-ace". But the fact is that Crouch appears to be having not simply the last laugh, but all the laughs here.
I used to watch him play at QPR. His nickname was Rodney, although people in the crowd would shout "go on Rodney" with real conviction, as though that was actually his name, rather than a reference to the bloke off Only Fools and Horses who went on to make disappointing sitcoms where he seemed to be taking himself seriously as a proper actor rather than just being gangly and cross. At the time it seemed unlikely Crouch would gross more in transfer fees than Michael Owen, Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Didier Drogba. But as of this week he is the most expensive English striker ever, at a running total of £35m. He has at least six more windows left in him. Where will this mania end? And what does it all mean?
First, I think it means we love Crouch. Footballers bring different things out of you. John Terry looks like the kind of person you'd like to go on a violently self-destructive stag weekend with, the kind where you're perpetually on the verge of being beaten up in some provincial super-club called Zeus or Volcano. Kolo Touré seems like the kind of person it might be nice to take a long country walk with. With Crouch, you'd want him along for the ride if you were buying a large piece of second-hand furniture. He could just hang around in the background, looking alert and quietly sceptical, and then maybe you'd go for lunch in a pizza restaurant.
If Crouch remains an oddly reassuring figure, perhaps this is related to the fact that he still looks like the kind of tall, thin boy in corduroy trousers everybody played football with at school – a slightly over-emotional tall, thin boy who would occasionally burst into tears or give someone a dead leg and then run away. Perhaps this explains that lurking sense that we're still waiting for the best of Crouch, still waiting for him to fill out and grow a bumfluff moustache. This makes no sense. Crouch is 28. He's not going to fill out. But still we wait.
Mainly, though, with Crouch people like to talk about how he "gives you an option". That's what he gives you, an option. But there is also danger in Crouch and his option. We hear warnings that you might look for that option too often. That in fact he might not be an option, but a compulsion. And maybe we are addicted to Crouch, drawn to the lurking notion, embodied within his extreme height, of a gloriously direct kind of English football. At which point it's customary to refer to Crouch's Paradox, the fact – which is still a surprise after these years – that he actually has a very delicate touch for such a big man. But that's another story altogether.
Crouch 'thrilled' at Anfield move
Liverpool have completed the signing of striker Peter Crouch from Southampton, on a four-year deal.
The 6ft 7in striker has successfully completed his medical to become Rafael Benítez's sixth summer signing and will join his new team-mates at their training camp in Switzerland ahead of Saturday's friendly against Olympiakos in Liechtenstein.
He said: "I am thrilled to be joining a club as prestigious and successful as Liverpool.
"Once I heard of their interest in me it was hard not to think about what it would be like to pull on the famous red shirt and play in front of the Kop, but I was also very aware of my responsibilities towards Southampton.
"After a lot of thought I requested the permission of the chairman and board of directors of the club to talk to Liverpool.
"Southampton bought me from Aston Villa and allowed me to play regularly in the Premiership, resulting in an appearance for England in the summer.
"This helped my career tremendously and has now given me the opportunity to move to Liverpool and play on an even bigger stage, something no one could realistically expect me to turn down.
"Under almost any other circumstances I would have committed myself to helping Southampton regain their Premiership status. There is a great group of players at the club and I am sure they will be successful in the coming seasons."
Crouch scored 16 goals last season and although Southampton lost their Premiership status, he was rewarded for his efforts with a call-up to England's end-of-season tour to the US, making his debut in the game against Colombia in New York.
Reds manager Benítez said: "I know Crouch is very good in the air, he can keep the ball and always knows what to do with it. For us, having lost 11 away games in the Premier League you have to change things. With Crouch we will have other options.
"For a manager it means you can play a style to win more balls in the air, to score the sort of goals we didn't score last season."
guardian.co.uk (20 July 2005)
A tall tale
Peter Crouch is a very good football player and joining Liverpool is a tremendous move for him, he deserves it.
Everyone simply talks about his height, because he's 6ft 7in, as if that's all there is to him.
But I can assure everyone he is very good technically and his touch will be as good as the other Liverpool players, there is no doubt about that.
He's had to live with jibes about his height and I'm so pleased for him because this boy can play.
People say Liverpool will just play the long ball now. Well, when does a long pass become a long ball, I mean what are people talking about?
Look at his touch, look at his passing, look at his control, how he lays people in, how he holds off defenders, that's the sort of player we are talking about.
There are too many people who will not look at him just because he's very tall. But look at Jan Koller, one of the best Czech strikers around - he's 6ft 7in too.
Peter has always wanted to be thought of as a good footballer.
He was in great form for a struggling Southampton side last season and he was scoring plenty of goals too.
Psychologically, he would say his height hasn't affected him but I think it used to. Now he's learned to handle the criticism and he knows he's a good player.
So when you come into the man's game, you haven't got that upper body strength in your spine because you've never used it. He's become a better player because he's learned how to handle his body.
Niall Quinn is a first-class example for Peter to follow. You can see the progression of his career and what he became, how he used his height and Peter could go the same way.
By Graham Taylor, Former England manager (20 July 2005)
Liverpool star Crouch breaks nose
Crouch also suffered a cut head as Hulse's boot made contact as the Reds star stooped to head a ball.
Reina's wife Yolanda went into labour with their first child on Friday night and the goalkeeper was at her bedside in hospital.
BBC Sport (25 February 2007)
Crouch seals £11m Portsmouth move
"The chance of regular first team football was part of the appeal. I know I'll have to work hard to prove myself in training, but I believe my best years are in front of me.
"I had a fantastic three years at Liverpool and I would not change it for the world. I am privileged to have played for such a top club.
"Towards the end I did not get as many games as I would have liked but I will only take good memories away.
"In no way am I stepping down, I feel I am joining a club that is going places with a new stadium, a new training ground and some very good players."
Redknapp added: "Bringing a player like Peter here shows how far we have come and how far we can go. I'm delighted he's back.
"I never expected to see him back here. He went off to Liverpool and did a fantastic job in my opinion and I'm looking forward to seeing him and Jermain Defoe up front - a big one and a little one - and we've got other good forwards here."
The forward was also praised for his contribution to the Merseyside club by Reds manager Rafael Benitez.
"He is a good professional and we would have wanted him to stay," he said.
"We offered him a new contract but sometimes you have to understand the player. He wanted to play a lot more."
The Spaniard added: "With Fernando Torres now first choice, playing more was always going to be difficult.
"I can understand Peter's situation but he did very well for this club and we always supported him when people doubted the decision to bring him to Anfield."
Liverpool are expected to initially receive in the region of £9m for Crouch, who joined the club from Southampton in July 2005 but only started nine Premier League games last term.
Benitez initially said he would consider offers for Crouch in the region of £15m but had to scale back his demands for a player who only had a year left on his contract.
Crouch scored 40 goals in 135 appearances for Liverpool but struggled to hold down a regular first-team place in recent times.
He was relegated behind Torres, who scored 33 goals for the Reds after signing from Atletico Madrid last summer.
However, he was a popular figure with Liverpool fans and still managed to net 11 goals as he was mainly used as a substitute by Benitez.
Crouch started his career as a trainee at Tottenham before moves to QPR, Portsmouth, Aston Villa, Norwich - where he had a spell on loan - Southampton and Liverpool.
BBC Sport (11 July 2008)
Tottenham complete Crouch signing
Tottenham have agreed a deal with Portsmouth to sign striker Peter Crouch for an undisclosed fee.
The 28-year-old, 6ft 7in England international scored 16 goals in all competitions for Pompey last season.
"He is different to almost anyone else in the league in terms of his size and the way he plays the game," said Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp.
A Portsmouth statement indicated that Crouch's sale was dictated by financial issues affecting the south-coast side.
Crouch returns to the club where he began his career as a trainee.
The fee is believed to be in the region of £10m and the contract reported to be for five years and worth £70,000 a week.
Crouch agreed personal terms and passed a medical on Monday, joining strikers Robbie Keane, Jermain Defoe and Roman Pavlyuchenko at White Hart Lane.
"We now have four top strikers which is what you need at every club and so I am delighted to have Crouchy," added Redknapp.
The surfeit of strikers leaves Darren Bent little option but to search for a move away from north London.
The England international has been a target of Sunderland - the team Crouch rejected a £12m move to last week - after indicating a desire to remain in the south.
But an improved offer is likely to sway Bent, who has not travelled to China as part of Tottenham's squad for the Barclays Asia Trophy, which starts on Wednesday.
"We now have four strikers as it looks like Darren Bent could move," stated Redknapp. "I believe he is close to doing a deal with Sunderland.
"With Crouch, Robbie Keane, Jermain Defoe and Roman Pavlyuchenko we have a good strikeforce."
Crouch scored 16 goals in all competitions for Portsmouth last season and, in a club statement, Pompey acknowledged the need to cash in on their star striker.
"His sale was necessitated by the club's commitment to repay scheduled debts while we are in a transitional period of completing the takeover," said a spokesman on the club's website.
Pompey announced on 21 July they have agreed in principle to a takeover by United Arab Emirates tycoon Sulaiman Al Fahim after the 32-year-old passed the Premier League's fit and proper person test.
The statement also revealed that Portsmouth will now look to "add fresh faces to the first-team squad as soon as possible".
Tottenham will be the third club at which Crouch has played under Redknapp following spells with the 62-year-old at Southampton and Portsmouth in the past.
He will also link up with his former Pompey strike partner Jermain Defoe, who returned to Spurs for £15m in January.
Crouch first left Spurs in July 2000 to join Queens Park Rangers before moving to Portsmouth for his first spell at Fratton Park in 2001.
He has subsequently played for Aston Villa, Norwich (on loan), Southampton and Liverpool before rejoining Portsmouth in July 2008.
Crouch has made 34 appearances for England, scoring 16 goals.
BBC Sport (28 July 2009)
Crouch halts robotic celebrations
|Peter Crouch says his robotic dancing career is over - and will only be revived if England win the World Cup.|
Liverpool striker Crouch has become a cult figure among England fans because of his eccentric goal celebration, but now he feels it is time to get serious.
Crouch is certain Michael Owen, his strike partner in Saturday's 1-0 win against Paraguay, will soon be indulging in goal celebrations of his own, despite being substituted early in the second half.
He said: "Over the years Michael has been playing, he has always scored goals and I believe he will always score goals.
"He is a goalscorer and a finisher and when he is given chances he will score.
"Michael is one of our main threats, so there is no problem with him."
Meanwhile, Crouch admits he may have to adapt his game to avoid falling foul of World Cup referees.
He was booked against Paraguay after being penalised several times by referee Marco Rodriguez for aerial challenges.
Crouch said: "It was very frustrating. I was getting pulled up for things that wouldn't be a foul in the Premiership.
"It was a worry to pick up a booking, but I'm not going to change my game, although I may have to adapt it a bit."
He added: "I felt the referee was overly-fussy at times, but I'm not going to blame referees. This is international football and maybe I have to adapt my game a touch."
The Liverpool star, meanwhile, will be happy to welcome Wayne Rooney back into the England side, even though it could put his place under threat.
Rooney could see some action in England's next group game against Trinidad and Tobago in Nuremberg on Thursday.
He said: "It's important we have him back. The fact that the manager named him in the squad showed he was always confident he would be fit, and in training he is looking fit.
"He's a top player and we need everyone fit if we are going to do well in the World Cup."
By Phil McNulty / Chief football writer in Baden-Baden (12 June 2006)
EXTERNAL LINKS AND REFERENCESEdit
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