Peter Crouch believes he is now getting the recognition he has strived for.
England centre-forward Peter Crouch is currently enjoying something of a purple patch.
His form with club team Tottenham has seen him reach an FA Cup Semi-Final and push for the coveted fourth Champions League spot in the Premiership. While in an England shirt he has been nothing short of prolific – scoring six goals in his last five appearances.
But it has not come easy for the 6’7” frontman. Throughout his early career he constantly had to prove his critics wrong but he now feels he is reaping the rewards of his hard work and commitment.
“Players like Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen were destined to be top players from 14 years old,” Crouch told Shortlist Magazine
at a BT Vision England 2018 Back the Bid event. “I had to develop physically. I felt that I had the ability, but my body had to catch up to my height. It took me a while. I was told that at 23, 24 things would work out and that was right.”
It was at 24 that Crouch claimed his first England cap, starting in England’s 3-2 friendly victory over Columbia in 2005. He went on to appear in and score at the 2006 World Cup, and has since established himself as firm favourite with England Manager Fabio Capello.
“I have a lot more respect now, but at the start of my career I was obviously different to a lot of players. I got stick but came through it and it made me a stronger player.
“I always had faith in my ability that I’d get to the level I wanted to be at. It was a case of showing it. About five years ago people started to say, ‘He can play’.”
His international calibre and scoring touch is now unquestionable and with the World Cup just weeks away ‘Crouchy’ is hoping to play a significant role in England’s bid for success in South Africa.
“Look at our qualifying campaign – we qualified with flying colours. We’ve got a Manager in charge who has won things. He has a winning mentality and has given that to the players,” says Crouch.
“We have a great chance, but we were all screaming and shouting from the rooftops before Germany [in 2006] and it didn’t work out. This time, we want to shut up and let our football do the talking.”