Oh the wonderful game of football. How it can sometimes provide us with the greatest moments of our lives. As a player you can be hot, and the next you can be cold. If you are Roman Pavlyuchenko you can be as cold as the Russian winter and within 3 weeks you can be as hot as Wayne Rooney. While Tottenham fans revel in the form of Pav, England fans should be worried about the situation as it could be a major disadvantage to the World Cup hopes of a certain Peter Crouch.
Crouchy’s double against Egypt seemed to guarantee his place in Fabio Capello’s squad for the World Cup. However, Crouch has found himself consigned to the bench in recent weeks due to the goals of Roman Pavlyuchenko. Seven goals in his last five league games, starting with a double at Wigan, have rejuvenated the Russian striker and he is in the form of his life at White Hart Lane. Alongside Jermain Defoe, the pair have struck up a partnership that even Harry Redknapp would not dare to tinker with.
To think the former Spartak Moscow striker was on the verge of walking out on Spurs due to a lack of first team opportunities must seem comical to Spurs fans. It will also be a kick in the teeth to Birmingham manager Alex McLeish who failed to come up with the required amount of money to sign Pav in the January transfer window.
As for Crouch, well he will be hoping that Capello shows faith in him similar to the faith he has shown in Emile Heskey. All of the England hopefuls will be aware that Capello is reluctant to take any player who is underperforming or not fully fit. If Pavlyuchenko carry’s on his red hot form, the chances for Crouch to prove himself at White Hart Lane may be limited. With just 8 league games left this season, including home games against Arsenal and Chelsea and a trip to Old Trafford, Redknapp cannot afford to rotate his squad and risk dropping points that could cost them that highly coveted fourth spot.
The hope for Crouchy is this. Not only is he generally loved by every football fan (apart from Southampton fans I guess) in the country. He is also a player who can still make an impact coming off the bench. While Pavlyuchenko struggled in matches where he was given 15 minutes to impress, Crouch has proven on a number of occasions that he can come on a still score goals. If he is to be spending the next 8 games primarily as a substitute then England fans will be hoping that he can do so in this manner.
The big question will be whether his name is on the Italian’s list come the end of May.