Football

Crouch determined to avoid Defoe's fate

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Jermain Defoe has told Peter Crouch exactly what it feels like not to get picked for the World Cup - and there is no way the Tottenham striker wants to suffer the same fate.

Defoe was a regular member of Sven-Goran Eriksson's squad prior to the 2006 tournament in Germany and was heavily tipped to make the final cut. Instead, he was overlooked in favour of Theo Walcott, then a virtually unknown teenager with barely any senior experience behind him.

Despite an international tally of 16 goals in 17 starts, Crouch is not yet guaranteed his seat on the plane to South Africa, and he said: "Jermain was involved in the squad and then didn't go. I know from speaking to him how difficult that was. I don't want to suffer that same fate."

Prior to Crouch's double against Belarus last month, he had missed three games for the Three Lions, which immediately followed a scoring appearance against Andorra.

He was overlooked prior to that for the trip to Kazakhstan, which did not seem much reward for finding the net in a key Wembley win over Ukraine at the beginning of April.

Maybe it is his size. Everyone, including England manager Fabio Capello, knows Crouch's strengths are not as a target man, despite his 6ft 7in frame.

Surely however, when they look up and see a white shirt so prominently, there must be a temptation among England's star names to revert to the national stereotype and merely whack the ball to the big guy.

"I always feel if I am given an opportunity I will take it," Crouch said. "I have faith in my ability and I have never let anyone down.

"People will have their opinions but I am very proud of my record for England.

"When you look at the ability within the side and the creative players in the team I always feel we will create chances and I can score. But we have fantastic forward players and no-one has any given right to play. The manager has options. Hopefully I will be one of them."

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Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Football
Millwall
Premier League
Peter Crouch
Jermain Defoe
Theo Walcott

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