Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Crouch: I Have Earned Chance

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Crouch: I Have Earned Chance

Article excerpt

Peter Crouch declared he had earned the right to be taken seriously as a striker as he set his sights on his first competitive start for England in Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Austria.

Crouch has not scored since May 7, having failed to find the net in his first eight games for Liverpool, but is still set to replace the suspended Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford.

Just 15 months ago, he was sold by Aston Villa to Southampton for pounds 2m ( less than half his price-tag two years earlier after just six goals in 43 games ( as David O'Leary failed to see his potential.

Some sceptics mocked his gangly 6ft 7in frame by comparing him to character Rodney Trotter from TV show Only Fools and Horses.

However, Crouch believes his 16 goals for Southampton last season, coupled with his pounds 7m summer move to Liverpool, Champions League experience and England call-up prove he is more than just a target man.

He said: "I think people are starting to take me seriously now. When I first started out, I was a unique player. Maybe people thought they just had to bang the ball up to me or whatever.

"But now people are starting to realise and, the more games you play, the more you can show people what you can do. The more I've played, the more people have taken me seriously. Now I've started to play for England and at a great club like Liverpool, hopefully people can see that I can play on the floor as well."

Crouch's failure to score for Liverpool, albeit with injury having delayed his start to the season, is discounted as a cause for concern ahead of tomorrow's game. The striker believes playing up front alongside Newcastle's Michael Owen, who returned to full training yesterday to dispel injury worries, could actually suit him more than acting as a lone striker in a 4-5-1 formation at Liverpool.

"When you're playing up front on your own, sometimes it limits your chances of scoring goals a little bit," he admitted. …

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