Peter Crouch on his time at Stoke City under Tony Pulis is absolute gold

Peter Crouch is without question a Premier League legend.

Sure, the lanky striker didn’t score anywhere near as many goals as Wayne Rooney, Alan Shearer or Thierry Henry, nor does he possess a goals-per-game ratio like Sergio Aguero.

But Crouch was still a top-quality operator in his pomp and excelled at a number of, shall we say, smaller Premier League clubs.

The 41-year-old delivered the goods at Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur too, but was also hugely effective at Southampton, Portsmouth and – in particular – Stoke City.

At times during his eight years at Stoke between 2011 and 2019, Crouch really was a lethal footballing weapon, especially when working under Tony Pulis.

Pulis’ style of play was tailor-made for Crouch and for quite some time, Stoke were an absolute nightmare to play against.

On the Potters’ home patch, it was never a shock to see one of the big boys come unstuck.

Peter Crouch after scoring a goal for Stoke
WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND – AUGUST 27: Peter Crouch of Stoke City celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City at The Hawthorns on August 27, 2017 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

And Crouch believes if prime Barcelona had visited Stoke when Pulis was in charge, the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez would have tasted defeat.

While a guest on the BT Sport Cole Cast, the former England international spoke about his time at the Bet365 Stadium (formerly known as the Britannia) with Joe Cole – and he even labelled Arsenal as the team’s “home banker”.

Video: Crouch on his time at Stoke under Pulis

Crouch said: “I bought into it because when I arrived there, there was a lot of players that were playing above themselves, but the attitude and camaraderie in the group was amazing.

“It was one of the best dressing rooms that I’ve ever been a part of, you just knew you were going into battle everyday and going to get a result because of the work rate, attitude, the endeavour and dedication.

“I reckon at that time we were only team that could beat Barcelona. We just made things horrible.

“If Messi or Iniesta came to the Britannia at that time, I reckon we could have turned them over because we made it horrendous for teams.”

Peter Crouch and Tony Pulis
STOKE, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 15: Stoke manager Tony Pulis and Peter Crouch arrive to speak to the media ahead of the Stoke City training session at Clayton Wood Training Ground on February 15, 2012 in Stoke, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Crouch says Stoke used to cut up the pitch before home games

“We trained in the middle of the pitch before we played Arsenal just to cut it all up,” Crouch added.

“The grass had grown longer and I remember looking at Aaron Ramsey and he couldn’t see his boot. He went Crouchy and I went that’s just what we do here. It was brilliant.

“Tony always said, fair play to him, he could adapt but he didn’t. His best line of all-time for me was when he felt like we were getting ahead of ourselves. 

“It’s one of the best lines i’ve heard in football. He said don’t get ahead of yourselves lads, you’re bang average players in a fantastic system. I can’t argue with that.”

We will never, ever get tired of hearing Crouch talk about his playing career. The man just has a way with words.

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