Crouch to change dancing tune for the right reason
IT HAS become a recurring theme of Peter Crouch’s life that when he scores he ends up on the back pages, and when he dances he ends up on the front pages.
His robotic jig prior to the 2006 World Cup earned him cover status, as did last month’s rather more controversial nightclub routine, his evening climaxing with the Tottenham and England striker sticking his head out of the roof of a taxi.
In the Hell-raiser Hall of Fame, Crouch is more Rolf Harris than Richard Harris, yet he accepts that image is important, particularly at a time when he is seeking to convince Fabio Capello to take him to the World Cup.
It was after scoring in a victory over his old club, Portsmouth, that Crouch was photographed dancing the night away. When the pictures hit the papers, he received the summons to Harry Redknapp’s office. The manager had some words for Tottenham’s Travolta.
“You’re an idiot,’’ Redknapp told him. The player himself, pausing from training under Capello in London this week, was contrition personified, although still pleading for a touch of perspective. “It was eight days before the next game. I’ve not covered myself in glory but I haven’t killed anyone. I feel like I have.
“We’re all human at the end of the day, but it’s difficult keeping your head down at 6ft 7in! In a World Cup year, though, we want to be as focused as we possibly can.’’
He admitted to being worried about how Capello would react.
“Of course. He has not said anything to me. It certainly won’t happen again. Harry was all right with it. We were going out with all the guys, as a team. It probably escalated a bit more than I would have planned. After a game you should go out for a meal, you need to relax. It can’t be football, football, football. Harry was quite straightforward about it.”
Crouch has responded to Redknapp’s warm man-management style, a contrast to what is perceived as the cold approach of Rafael Benítez at Anfield where the forward spent three years.
“Harry wears his heart on his sleeve and will tell you if you’re playing s**t or fantastically. Rafa is the other way; he might not let on as much, might not pat you on the back as much or rip into you as much.
“Rafa is similar to the England manager: you do have to work hard to get a ‘well done’.”
plight troubles crouch.
“I do care. I have a great deal of affection for that club. I loved playing there. It was an honour.”
When he sees Fernando Torres absent and reserves such as David Ngog pressed into action, Crouch does wonder why Benítez sold him.
Ngog’s dive against Birmingham City on Monday understandably stirred widespread revulsion but Crouch, a fellow pro, can see both sides, Corinthian purist and cynical pragmatist.
“No one wants to see that. No one wants to see players cheat to win games but who’s saying he cheated?
“I haven’t taken a dive before. But in a World Cup, if someone took a dive and we went through, would the nation be slaughtering him or saying he was a hero?
“But the manager (Capello) has touched on he doesn’t want players cheating or diving. I’ve taken that on board.”
Crouch’s playing style, and particularly his use of his arms in leaping for a ball, may bring sanction from World Cup referees but he is hopeful of persuading Capello to include him in the 23 for 2010.
Just don’t ask him to dance for a while. Crouch has had enough of being on the front pages. – The Telegraph
CARE TO DANCE? Peter Crouch and Robbie Keane celebrate another goal for Spurs.