Has this Stoke City star been underrated throughout his career?

As Peter Crouch nears the 100 goals mark in the Premier League we ask – has he beenĀ underrated during his career?

Everyone knows Peter Crouch, and when you stand at 6 foot 7 inches you’re not going to slip under anyone’s radar. But many see him as just a great big lump whose height is the be all and end all of his ability. However, the 33-year-old is still playing at the top level and he is getting very close to joining the Premier League ‘100 club’.

There is currently only 24 players in the ‘100 club’ which is topped by Alan Shearer who is the only player in the unmade ‘200 club’ with 260 Premier League goals. Peter is currently 0n 90 Premier League goals in 367 appearances after scoring twice already this season. If ‘Crouchy’ was to reach 100 goals he would be equal with Matthew Le Tissier and Didier Drogba.

By no means is he the most prolific, having scored no more than 12 in a single league season (Southampton 2004-05). To put it into perspective, Le Tissier and Drogba reached the 100 goal target in 258 and 226 appearances respectively.

Peter Crouch has certainly been more prolific for England and, after receiving a total of 42 caps, he has scored a total of 22 goals for the Three Lions – A ratio better than a goal every two games. Of course many will argue that because England are seeded high, they play most of their matches against much lesser teams and so it’s easy to score. But that simply isn’t the case, goals aren’t guaranteed at any level and Crouch deserves the respect that his England record suggests. For example, Emile Heskey managed only seven goals in his 62 appearances and Ian Wright, only nine in 33. International goals aren’t a given.

The most important thing to note about Crouch is that his technical ability is far greater than he is given credit for, for example his goal against Man City was one of the best Premier League goals ever in terms of technique. Not to mention his remarkable amount of acrobatic goals.

He’s not just a great big lump, in fact his aerial ability is by no means the best in the division. Many have noted that his heading ability doesn’t quite match up to the amount of headed goals he is expected to score.

Crouch hasn’t been the most prolific striker in Premier League history, as mentioned above. However, to have been selected in various Premier League teams over many years is no mean feat. After joining England’s top division in the 2001-02 season with a move to Aston Villa, he has dropped out of the top division just once, when he joined Norwich on loan in the 2003-04 season.

Many managers have favoured Peter Crouch and he has delivered for most of them, chipping in with goals here and there, and generally being a nuisance. He has played enough that he is almost entering the ‘100 club’ and that is a great achievement regardless of the amount of appearances that it has taken.

The 33-year-old has not been particularly underrated in terms of his influence on the Premier League, but I feel he has been underrated internationally. His goals to game ratio is right up there with any of his England predecessors. He has been given a fair crack with his country with 42 appearances over a five-year period, but he rarely let his country down and he was certainly a nuisance to deal with for opposition defences.

Some still say that he has a case at 33 years old to be recalled, however, I think that ship has sailed and England should be (and are) looking to the future rather than running to the past.

Underrated for England – yes. But as for the Premier League – he’s underrated in terms of his technical ability but his goals have been good but not great. Although I really hope he makes it into the ‘100 club’.