From the publishers of THE HINDU

VOL.35 :: NO.03 :: Jan. 19, 2012

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FOOTBALL / STARWATCH

Crouch thriving at Stoke

The 30-year-old scored twice in the victory at Blackburn to bring up the personal landmark of 100 league goals and take his Stoke tally to eight since his August switch.

When Stoke made Peter Crouch their record signing in the summer they were expecting goals from the big striker and he has not disappointed.

The much-travelled front-man was left frustrated with a lack of first-team football at Tottenham Hotspur, so the Potters stepped in with a bid of GBP10million which could rise to GBP12million.

After mulling over the move for some time, Crouch brought to an end his second spell at White Hart Lane and he has not looked back.

The 30-year-old scored twice in the victory at Blackburn to bring up the personal landmark of 100 league goals and take his Stoke tally to eight since his August switch.

Tony Pulis' side are having another memorable season, qualifying from the group stage of the Europa League and sitting pretty in eighth place in the English Premier League.

And the Stoke boss has been delighted with the impact Crouch has made since arriving in the Potteries.

He said: “Crouch has been fantastic. I thought him and (Jonathan) Woodgate were very good (at Blackburn) and they've got great quality. It's not just what they do on the pitch, it's what they're like off the field as well, they've been absolutely fantastic.

“They've come to the football club as top players who have played for top clubs and their attitude towards the rest of the group has been fantastic. I'm so pleased Peter's not only got his 100th goal but his 101st as well.”

Pulis declined to speculate on whether Crouch could make the England squad for this summer's European Championship but he certainly does not feel the striker's powers are waning.

“He's unplayable at times. If you stick the right quality in to him, he'll score goals. And he's as fit as a flea,” added Pulis after Crouch battled through the Christmas programme despite illness.

“He's played the full game against Wigan, come here and played the full game and is defending balls in our box, up there winning balls in their box and absolutely brilliant.

“I think we might have caught him at the right time. He's the type of player who always wants to do well, he always seems very enthusiastic about being a footballer and that's a great commodity.”

However, despite having an excellent goalscoring record for England, a return to international football for Crouch would appear unlikely with the likes of Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge having broken through.

When Crouch deliberated over whether to leave Tottenham for Stoke it is understood he was initially reluctant to join the Potters.

But after settling in quickly at the Britannia Stadium, the Macclesfield-born striker has no doubt he made the right decision.

Asked if he had any regrets about the move, Crouch said: “No regrets at all. There is a real buzz around here. I love the feeling of being part of something special which is what is going on at Stoke,

“There's something special going on at Spurs too, but they brought in Emmanuel Adebayor and I knew my chances would be limited and I'd be watching from the bench. As good as they are to watch, I'm not one for that.

“I want to play and be at a place where I feel wanted. The boss was dying to get me here and I felt the club was going in the right direction.”

And if Crouch continues to score and Stoke maintain their impressive form of late, there will be more exciting times ahead for the Potters.

© PA Sport, 2012, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, re-written, re-distributed or commercially exploited. Sportstar is not responsible for any inaccuracy in the material.



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