VIDEO: Forward thinking
by Nicholas Veevers
Wednesday, 23 March, 2011
Peter Crouch says the England Manager has strong options up front.
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Peter Crouch believes England have a superb crop of strikers to choose from and says Fabio Capello has a tough job to choose his starting line-up as the squad prepare for Saturday's clash with Wales.
Crouch is joined in the squad for the game by Wayne Rooney, Andy Carroll, Jermain Defoe and Darren Bent and with Carroll reportedly in-line to make his second international appearance, the other four strikers have 65 international goals between them, and Crouch is adamant it is an area of real strength for the Three Lions.
"Without a doubt it is difficult (to choose who should start)," said the Tottenham forward. "Look at the players we have in that position - it is healthy for England.
"It is good for the squad that we have players who have scored goals for their country and at club level as well. The Manager has a chance to pick from five and any one of us could do a good job."
With Carroll and Crouch likely to be going head-to-head for a starting berth at the Millennium Stadium, the Spurs man knows it's going to be one or the other.
“It’s pretty obvious the Manager is going to pick one of us, and not play us both together," he added. "Of course, we’ll both be trying as hard as we can to make sure we get a shirt.
“I’m pleased for Andy Carroll, he’s done fantastically well and got a big move to a top, top club in Liverpool.
“I had the pleasure of playing there myself and I’m sure he’ll go on and be a really big success there."
And Crouch says he is proud of his personal record for England, having scored 22 goals in 42 appearances with his most recent strike coming against France last November.
"I have been very proud of my record for England, and I feel that when called upon I have done well and given my all," he added.
"That will continue to be the case. If the Manager decides to pick other people I will be disappointed, but any chance I get I will try and make an impact."
One player who will be facing England that Crouch knows all about, is his White Hart Lane team-mate Gareth Bale who has already been earmarked by many as the dangerman for England this weekend.
Crouch certainly concurs with that view, having seen his progress at first hand over the last two seasons.
“It’s no secret that he’s improved so much over the last few years and become a world class player,” he said. “He’s doing it against the best players in the world in the Champions League now so he’s someone that we’ll have to look out for, there’s no doubt about that.
“I’ve spoken to him in the run-up to the game and have been giving him a little bit of stick, so I’ll be a bit sheepish if we lose the game, because I’ve been giving him loads!
“Craig Bellamy is another one that I played with at Liverpool and they’re a side that we’ll have to watch out for.”
With that in mind, Crouch knows that England cannot afford to underestimate Gary Speed’s side, especially when they’re playing in front of a sold-out, and no doubt vociferous, Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
“Someone said to me that they’re ranked a lot lower than us and have lost their three games in the group so far, but it’s a derby game at international level,” explained Crouch. “Their crowd will be up for it and the atmosphere will be fantastic.
“As soon as the draw came out, we had one eye on the game so it’s one that we’re really looking forward to playing in.
“It’s important that we win the game and we know that we’re the favourites, so if we don’t win the game, we’ll be very disappointed.”