Peter Crouch

#51854929 / gettyimages.com

Peter Crouch is an English striker who was born in Macclesfield on 30th January 1981. Crouch moved to Singapore when he was one year old before settling in London at age four. He joined Tottenham as a youngster, signing professional terms on 2nd July 1998. Crouch failed to make a single appearance at White Hart Lane, and had loan spells with Dulwich Hamlet and IFK Hassleholm in 2000.

On 28th July 2000 Crouch signed for QPR for £60,000. He made his debut for boyhood favourites Rangers on 12th August 2000 in a 0-0 draw with Birmingham. Crouch's first goal came in a 2-2 draw with Gillingham on 13th September 2000. He had a decent 2000/01 season at Loftus Road scoring 12 goals, although that wasn't enough to stop the club getting relegated to the third tier.

On 4th July 2001 Portsmouth paid £1,500,000 to take Crouch to Fratton Park. Despite Pompey struggling in lower mid-table of Division One, the former Spurs trainee performed extremely well, netting 18 goals. By this time he was also a regular in the England U20 team. In March 2002 Crouch signed for Premiership outfit Aston Villa for £5,000,000. He made his debut on 30th March in a 3-2 defeat at Bolton. Three days later he scored in his first home appearance against Newcastle. Crouch finished 2001/02 strongly, with a goal in a 3-1 win at Chelsea on the final day of the season.

Crouch had a frustrating time of it during 2002/03. He spent much of the season on the bench, and failed to score a single goal. In September 2003 Crouch signed for Division One outfit Norwich on loan for three months. He helped the Canaries on their way to the top of the table with four goals before returning to Villa Park. Crouch made most of his appearances for Aston Villa from the subs bench in the second half of 2003/04, but usually looked useful when given a chance. He scored a last minute winner against Middlesbrough on 24th April.

On 9th July 2004 Crouch signed for Southampton for £2,000,000. The player had been on the clubs radar for a long time, with club chairman Rupert Lowe showing interest in signing him years earlier. Ironically Crouch made his Saints debut at former club Aston Villa on 14th August 2004. He opened his goal scoring account in first home match against Bolton on 25th August. Crouch quickly found himself out of favour however, after Paul Sturrock was replaced as manager by Steve Wigley. He only received his first league start for the club when Harry Redknapp took over. That was on December 11th 2004, in a 2-2 draw with Middlesbrough, a match which saw Crouch net the second goal. He added another goal to his tally a week later in a 5-1 loss at first club Tottenham. Crouch was one of the Premiership's top marksmen in the latter half of 2004/05, and his goals gave the club a fighting chance in their relegation battle. He looked particularly impressive in the 2-0 win over Liverpool on January 22nd, heading in the second. Crouch also grabbed important goals against Arsenal, Everton and Norwich amongst others. His brace against Middlesbrough on 20th March 2005 gave Southampton their only away win of the campaign. It wasn't all highlights however. On 6th February 2005 Crouch gave the ball back to Everton in stoppage time, which led to the Toffees scoring a last minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw. He foolishly got himself sent off in the penultimate match of the season at Crystal Palace, which meant he was suspended for the final game against Manchester United. He also pulled out of the disastrous 4-1 derby day defeat to Portsmouth on April 24th because of a knock sustained in the warm up. Some questioned how bad the injury really was however, especially when he returned just days later. Despite all that, Crouch was deservedly named the clubs player of the season. He was rewarded with a first full England cap on 31st May 2005, a 3-2 loss against Colombia.

Despite being one of the tallest players in the history of the English game (6ft 7 in) Crouch possess excellent technical ability, and is perfectly suited to a passing style of football. That's not to say he doesn't offer a lot in the air too. Crouch has continually improved his heading ability over the years.

On 20th July 2005 Crouch signed for reigning European Champions Liverpool for £7,000,000. He made his debut for the Anfield club on 26th July 2005 in a Champions League qualifier with FBK Kaunas. Despite working hard, Crouch failed to score in his first 19 games, and was mocked by opposition fans. There was even a cruel Internet campaign started by Everton fans to vote for Crouch to win Sports Personality of the Year. He finally grabbed his first goal for the club on 3rd December 2005 in a 3-0 win over Wigan. Crouch performed much better in the second half of 2005/06, and became a firm fans favourite with the Liverpool crowd. He scored in a 3-1 win over Everton on December 28th and also in a 1-0 FA Cup win over Manchester United on 18th February 2006. Crouch netted his first goal for England against Uruguay on 1st March 2006, and followed that up with a hatrick against Jamaica at Old Trafford on June 3rd 2006. He was part of England's 2006 World Cup squad in Germany, scoring in the 2-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago on 15th June.

Crouch made a storming start to the 2006/07 season for both club and country, scoring 8 goals in his opening 7 matches. The former Saints man performed particularly well in Europe, netting six times in the Champions League. Those goals helped Liverpool reach the final of the competition in Athens where they lost 2-1 to Milan. Crouch was only named as a substitute that day. The highlight of his league campaign came on 31st March when he hit a hatrick in a 4-1 win over Arsenal.

In 2007/08 Crouch slipped down the pecking order at Anfield following the arrival of Fernando Torres. He still made a decent contribution however, scoring eleven goals, many of which came in cup competitions. Crouch also netted an equaliser for England in a vital qualifier against Croatia on November 21st 2007, a match which Steve McClaren's men would go on to lose and therefore miss out on Euro 2008.

On 11th July 2008 Crouch returned to Portsmouth, linking up with his former Southampton boss Harry Redknapp in a deal that could eventually rise to £11,000,000. He made his second debut in the Community Shield against Manchester United on 10th August, and scored his first goal of the season against Everton on August 30th. That was followed up by strikes against Tottenham and Stoke. He helped the club qualify for the group stages of the UEFA Cup with a brace against Guimaraes on 2nd October. Despite Pompey's struggles in the second half of the season, Crouch continued to perform to a high standard. His goals played a big part in keeping the Fratton Park club away from any serious relegation trouble during 2008/09.

In July 2009 Crouch returned to Tottenham nine years to the day after first leaving the club. He would once again be working under Harry Redknapp, who was now Spurs manager. Crouch made his White Hart Lane debut against former club Liverpool on 16th August 2009. His first goal for the club came in the 5-1 League Cup demolition of Doncaster on 26th August. Crouch performed well for Spurs, helping the club qualify for the Champions League for the first time. His winner against Manchester City on 5th May 2010 sealed their place in the top four.

Crouch was part of England's 2010 World Cup squad, but made just two cameo appearances in matches against USA and Algeria. Before the tournament began he had netted in a warm up match with Mexico.

Crouch started 2010/11 in sparkling form, bagging a hatrick in the Champions League play-off against Young Boys on 25th August. The former Liverpool star saved most of his best displays for the Champions League. He scored in matches home and away to Werder Bremen, and in the memorable 3-1 win over Inter at White Hart Lane. His goal in the San Siro on 15th February 2011 gave Spurs a famous win over Milan, and set up a Champions League quarter final tie with Real Madrid. Unfortunately things didn't go according to plan in that match. Crouch was sent off after just 15 minutes for two reckless challenges. With Spurs down to ten men, their game plan was completely undone, and they ended up losing 4-0. Crouch had a slightly disappointing time of it at Premier League level in 2010/11, scoring just four times.

Crouch made his final Tottenham appearance on 28th August 2011 in a 5-1 home defeat to Manchester City. Three days later he signed for Stoke in a £10,000,000 deal. Crouch enjoyed a decent first year at the Britannia, with 10 goals in 32 matches. He scored one of the goals of the season against Manchester City on 24th March 2012. Crouch controlled a flick on out wide, before firing an unstoppable long range volley past City keeper Joe Hart.

Crouch missed out on Roy Hodgson's 23 man Euro 2012 squad.