Crouch to change danc­ing tune for the right rea­son

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODPASTIMES - HENRY WIN­TER

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’.”

Liver­pool’s cur­rent

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.

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