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Peter Crouch refuses to be the forgotten man

Sunday 5th February 2017
After an illustrious 17-season career in the English top flight and a period of being a dependable frontman for England, Peter Crouch went off the footballing radar over the last 18 months. However, the Stoke City striker is back in form and netted his 100th Premier League goal on Wednesday night.
Standing at 6 feet 7 inches with an excellent heading ability, which makes him almost unbeatable in the air, Crouch has been an imposing figure for every team he played for. The Stoke forward is also a decent finisher who's adept at linking up with his teammates. Over the years, the striker's distinctive attributes helped transform him into a formidable goalscorer. One look at his record is proof of that.

While representing two of England's biggest clubs in the Champions League, Crouch scored 7 goals in 10 games for Tottenham and followed that at Liverpool by finding the net a further 11 times. A record, in Europe's elite club competition, of 18 goals in 41 games is more than a decent return. In addition, Crouch made his debut for the England national team in 2005 and after his last game in 2010, he had scored 22 times in just 42 caps; which puts him joint 16th on the list of all-time England top goalscorers

Despite Crouch's long-standing reputation in front of goal, the striker we have become accustomed to watching disappeared last season. After making the move to Stoke in 2011, for a club record transfer fee at the time, he was named their Player of the Year in his debut campaign. However, since then Crouch's career was on the verge of coming towards a natural conclusion: averaging 1 goal in every four Premier League games over the previous four seasons, he failed to score during his 11 league appearances last campaign; it was suggested the forward was no longer in the plans of manager Mark Hughes and was about to depart the Potters.

However, times have changed. There has been a marked improvement this season, particularly during the past month, as Crouch has scored four in his last six Premier League games. With Mame Biram Diouf and Wilfried Bony failing to fire for Hughes' side, the door has been left open for a certain Englishman to reclaim his starting place. Crouch is the club's top scorer in all competitions this season and the most reliable striker at the Bet365 Stadium. He's making a name for himself once again and proving he still has a future at Stoke; at least in the short-term.
It's been a rewarding week for Crouch as on Wednesday night, in a home encounter against Everton, he sniffed an opportunity in the penalty box and pounced to score the 100th Premier League goal of his career. He is only the 26th player to reach that landmark, at 36-years-old also the oldest, and now joins Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier on a century of goals. Was this a fitting last declaration from Crouch, or something to a greater extent? Although the recent arrival of Saido Berahino could hinder his prospects in a Stoke shirt, there's also the real possibility the pair could form a formidable partnership.

Reaching 100 Premier League goals is a superb accomplishment, but as to what Crouch's future holds is still in doubt. He recently turned 36, so both his age and time are against him. While Stoke struggle to unearth a consistent goalscorer, he should receive the game time he requires; however, his future in the top flight beyond this season remains in question.

During Crouch's prolonged career upwards of £43 million has been spent to acquire his services, and although there will be no more big money transfers, once his time in the Premier League comes to a conclusion he would be deadly in the Championship. But that's for another day. For now, the striker is back among the goals and only one thing is certain: the refusal to quietly fade away, instead, insisting on fighting for his place at Stoke, typifies Peter Crouch's determined character.
Danny Glendenning

Passions include reading, sport, and nights out with friends. A football fanatic whose writing career began in May 2016. Now 30 years old, lives in South Yorkshire - local team is Doncaster Rovers, although heart lies with Arsenal. Contributing editor for It's Round And It's White. Current claim to fame is an interview with Ron Atkinson. Always looking for work, either editing or writing. Contact via email: Dannysg1988@outlook.com. Or Twitter: @DannySG1988.



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