In a career that has taken a different path to most, Crouch has played at every level from the eighth tier of English football to the pinnacle of European club competition, making plenty of friends on the way. He’s played for 11 clubs and continues to be a fan favourite at every single one, not many can make that claim.
Yesterday he returned to one of his former teams hoping to add to his 101 league goals. Although he was unable to improve on his eight goals this season, his team left with a creditable draw.
Crouch is still revered in London, the Midlands and the south coast and returned to Merseyside yesterday to a great reception. He’ll always be fondly remembered in those parts following a three year stint where he scored 40 times in 130 appearances, won the cup and scored the goals to propel his side into a European final.
Although generally considered one of the nicest men in football Crouch doesn’t just get a game because he’s a nice bloke. Having an iconic dance and a great line in nicknames will only take you so far. Fortunately Peter is an asset in either box. When defending set pieces it’s rarely his man who scores, which is something you can’t say for every striker in the league. With Crouch in the team the opponents set piece delivery has to be spot on as the big man takes real pride in defending the front post.
In addition to his formidable aerial ability another thing that enamours him to teammates and fans is his unselfish playing style. A provider and scorer of goals Crouch had ten assists last year. His presence and unselfishness often brings out the best in his teammates.
But the thing that really sets Crouch apart from other big men is his adhesive touch. A man who’s been described as a ‘gangly super spider’ shouldn’t be a skilful as Crouch clearly is. As likely to score an acrobatic bicycle kick as he is a towering header he’s almost singlehandedly responsible for popularising the phrase ‘great touch for a big man’. No English player has had it ascribed to them more this century. When you see the variety of goals he’s scored you can see why. Frankly a man of six foot and seven inches shouldn’t have his unusual blend of styles. But like we said, Peter Crouch isn’t your average footballer.