In the aftermath of England’s lacklustre 2-2 draw against Switzerland, one story was forced into the background as Fabio Capello and his player’s ability were called into question.
Peter Crouch was forced to suffer on the bench in silence as Darren Bent missed chance after chance – and a man whose record is far superior than the Aston Villa forward’s was made to publicly speak out after being snubbed by his country.
I’m not going to lie, I was extremely frustrated, but it’s one of those things and you move on,” the Tottenham star told BBC Sport.
“I feel that whenever I’ve played for England, I’ve done well, so I felt maybe I’ve been slightly unfairly treated.
And with that Crouch hit the nail on the head. The Spurs man has been treated grossly unfairly during his international career. If, for example, Darren Bento or even Bobby Zamora had anywhere near his record of 22 goals in 44 games then either player would have been heralded as one the most lethal strikers in the modern era.
But with Crouch, as ever, if comes down to his size. There is a perception that when he is in the side, the players around him and the tactics of the team have to change also – the good touch for a big man cliché flies out the window when Crouch’s name is included on the team sheet, it seems.
Granted his team-mates at club level do not help much, the long balls fly from full-back far too regularly at White Hart Lane, reducing his potential and limiting his chances to show what he can really do with the ball at his feet.
Crouch has said he will continue playing for England and rightly so, even if he doesn’t start he is an excellent plan b option for England – whether that is enough to satisfy the big man’s needs remains to be seen – but perhaps England would do well to treat him with a great deal more respect.