Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Why Peter Can Now Stand Tall

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Why Peter Can Now Stand Tall

Article excerpt

Byline: By John Gibson

We're now a nation of Crouch potatoes willing the robotic one to propel England towards a golden finale.

Where once supporters sniggered at the 6ft 7in giant with spaghetti legs, he has suddenly become a cult hero ( a television personality and holder of our World Cup aspirations, willingly invited into every living room up and down the land.

Former Newcastle United star and one-time England lion Stuart Pearce declared before kick-off in Nuremberg that Crouch is now England's No 1 striker, ahead of foot soldiers Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen.

Well, an hour and a half later no one was going to argue with The Fearsome One.

Crouch has gone from being booed at Old Trafford, when going on as an England sub last November, to national hero.

Relegated with Southampton a year ago and having six clubs in as many years, he has lived down his reputation as an ungainly totem pole to gain respect for his touch, footballing brain, and team play.

His first faith healer was Harry Redknapp, who has been quickly followed by Rafa Benitez and Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Here, Crouch won England a desperately-needed breakthrough seven minutes from time against a game Trinidad and Tobago.

Having missed an absolute sitter just before the interval, Crouch's oft-fragile confidence didn't shred, and in the 83rd minute he rose majestically above Brent Sancho to plant an accurate David Beckham right-wing cross past Shaka Hislop.

No robot dance of celebration this time, just a scoring record of robotic regularity ( six England goals in nine internationals.

Crouch, supposed to be a super sub during the World Cup, is now England's first-choice striker.

It's a matter of who partners him from our Indian tribe ( Broken Foot One or Broken Foot Two.

And Newcastle's Michael Owen looks like being the loser!

Owen lasted less than an hour again before being hauled off dejected and lacking in influence. The Golden Boot? I fear not.

Rooney replaced him with a startling statistic confronting us ( he was playing 47 days after breaking his metatarsal, whereas Owen was injured five and a half months ago. …

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