Peter Crouch has never exactly been a prolific goal scorer, in fact now that I look at his career statistics I am quite surprised how average it really is. In 10 seasons of Premier League football he has only had a goal tally in double figures twice, and considering some of the fee’s that he is moved for during his career, that is pretty surprising.
Clearly there is more to his game than scoring goals, his presence causes opposition defences problems and this opens up space for team mates, I would imagine that he has a pretty impressive amount of assists each season to supplement his average goal scoring record. This season alone he seemed to create a fair few goals for Rafael van der Vaart, especially in the early parts of the campaign.
Crouch has also been a mainstay of the England squad and up until recently he was one of our nation’s first choice forwards, and that always depressed me slightly. I have never really liked the guy, nothing about his character, just his style of play has never appealed to me. He concedes more fouls than many strikers in the Premier League, and at international level it can be even more infuriating, he seems to find it impossible to jump for a ball without man handling his marker. Clearly being the height that he is, that is understandable some of the time but the numbers of free kicks he seems to give away is staggering.
One thing that should be said for the 30 year old is that his scoring record outside of England is actually very impressive, his tally for England is 22 goals in 42 games, which is not to be sniffed at (that figure is slightly affected by a fair few goals in friendlies against minnows), it is his form in European competition though that is particularly impressive. This season he was at the fore front of Tottenham ’s European adventure notching up 7 goals in 10 games, looking as his European appearances in total (including UEFA Cup) he has a very impressive record of 25 goals in 54 games.
That begs the question how can a striker be so effective against European teams but struggle in England? I suppose the first notable point could be that these goals have come against weaker teams in some cases, but clearly that doesn’t fully explain it. In many ways European teams will be less used to dealing with someone of the English striker’s stature, in this country we have a long tradition of tall centre forwards, albeit not always as massive as Crouch.
What does that mean for his future though? It seems that Harry Redknapp is ready to reshape his forward line, they were woefully short of goals last season and that is probably one of the main reasons that they missed out on Champions League football again. I suppose it could be argued that the striker could still do a job for a big club, but at 30 years old he is probably going to want a 3 or 4 year contract and that may not be appealing to a team at the top end of the table. The Metro today report that Neil Warnock wants to take him to QPR , and I can’t help but feel that would be a good move.
Crouch is settled in the South of England and I think that would be a transfer that could work, he would be effective for the newly promoted team and would certainly make a difference. Whether the player though would feel it was the right time in his career to move from a team chasing Champions League football to one that will fight for survival remains to be seen but this next move is one that he must get right.
I suppose there is always the option of moving abroad, his scoring record has been impressive against European teams and that could translate well to continental football but whether he will fancy that upheaval is questionable. The certainty seems to be that he won’t be a Tottenham player next season, he has had a successful career and won many things but I just can’t really help feeling that the good times might be coming to an end. Crouch needs to get this next step right, and a move to a mid-table team would probably be a good move, he could even be a decent replacement for Carroll at Newcastle I suppose, and I think he would also fit in well somewhere like Stoke or Everton . Whether he has to drop as low as QPR remains to be seen, but I don’t think the former England international can afford to be too picky with his next move.
Read more of Joe T’s article at This is Futbol