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Peter Crouch

Peter Crouch
Norwich Career: 2003 (15 appearances, 4 goals) (on loan from Aston Villa)
Current Club: Stoke City
Date of Birth: 30/01/1981 (Macclesfield)
Nationality: English

Biography

At the beginning of the 2003/04 season, Norwich faced a striking crisis. Attempts to sign new "20-goal per season" strikers over the summer fell short, David Nielsen quit to return to Denmark and Zema Abbey was injured at Sheffield United and would miss the remainder of the season. Injuries to Iwan Roberts and then leading scorer Mark Rivers, forced Norwich manager Nigel Worthington into the loan transfer market.

On Thursday 4th September 2003, Worthington unveiled Aston Villa striker Peter Crouch on a three month loan. The beanpole striker said "I am really excited to get the chance to start playing first team football again. I know Norwich are an ambitious club looking to improve on last season and I obviously hope to help them do that. Nigel is doing a good job and it was definitely the right decision for me to join the club. After I had spoken to him my mind was made up as what he said about the club sounded exactly what I was after. I have obviously watched Norwich on the TV and I liked the way they play, it's very similar to the way I play football." Peter made his debut for the Canaries on the 13th September 2003 scoring the first goal in the 2-0 home defeat of Burnley.

Peter's career began as a YTS trainee at Tottenham, alongside the likes of Paul McVeigh. He never made the Spurs' first team and dropped down a division in July 2000 joining QPR. Weighing in at less than 12 stone the towering striker may have looked ungainly but he quickly proved he had a good touch and an eye for a goal to go with his obvious ability in the air and after scoring 12 times in 47 appearances he was on his way to Portsmouth in a £1.5m deal. He continued his goalscoring form on the South Coast netting 19 goals in 39 matches.

This prompted Villa manager Graham Taylor to splash out £5million to bring Crouch to the Premiership in March 2002. Premiership goals have been sparse with just 2 goals in 26 appearances. Under new Villa manager David O'Leary, the frustration continued. Crouch made a brief appearance from the bench at Portsmouth on the opening day of the season but hasn't featured in a first-team squad since, with O'Leary having the likes of Juan Pablo Angel, Darius Vassell, Marcus Allback, Dion Dublin and Bosko Balaban at his disposal.

Crouch returned to Villa Park on 7th December 2003. Whilst sad words were said by Crouch about how he wished he could stay at Carrow Road, days later he was expressing his desire to break into the Villa first-team.

At the beginning of June 2004, it was widely reported that Norwich had agreed a £400,000 fee with Villa for Crouch and that Norwich were hoping to make it a double-swoop by also adding Crouch's teammate Rob Edwards. However Worthington stated that nothing was happening on the Crouch front. In the end, Peter returned to the South Coast joining Southampton for £2million on 9th July 2004.

Peter's form for Southampton could not prevent them being elegated, along with Norwich at the end of the 2004/5 season, but it was recognised by England manager Sven Goran Eriksson who selected Crouch for England's tour of the USA in May 2005. Newspaper speculation claimed that Liverpool were preparing a £6million swoop for Crouch but he was also linked with Wigan and Blackburn. It is alleged that Portsmouth have bid £5m and offered £25k per week for him to return to Fratton Park. Peter made his England debut in the 3-2 victory over Colombia on 31st May 2005 in New Jersey. Man City were the next club to be linked supposedly increasing their bid to £6m after Liverpool's £5m offer was rejected. West Ham allegedly made a cash bid in early July 2005 but were rebuffed with the player keen to join Liverpool. Despite late interest from Charlton and Middlesborough, he eventually signed for Liverpool on 20th July 2005 for £7million, signing a four year contract.

A good season on Merseyside followed with Crouch becoming a regular in the England squad, often coming on from the bench. On May 9th 2006, he was named by Sven Goran Eriksson in the England squad for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany. Crouch won his first major honour on 13th May 2006 when Liverpool won the FA Cup on penalties against West Ham after a 3-3 draw. Crouch had started for the Reds but was substituted having had a mediocre performance. Doubts by England fans were partially laid to rest when he scored in England's 3-1 win over Hungary at Old Trafford on 30th May 2006. He followed this up with a hat-trick against Jamaica in a 6-0 win at Old Trafford on 3rd June 2006, and even missed a penalty as well. He scored England's opener in their second world cup game, a 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago. England reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup but lost on penalties to Portugal on 1st July 2006.

Crouch continued his goal-scoring vein of form under new England manager Steve McLaren scoring twice in England's 4-0 demolition of Greece on 16th August 2006. He scored twice in the 5-0 defeat on Andorra on 2nd September 2006 and got the only goal of the game in England's win in Macedonia on 6th September. However Crouch had not had a regular place in Liverpool's starting eleven during the first half of 2006/7 and the rumour mill linked him with a January 2007 switch to Newcastle United. Although Crouch remained at Anfield, the People speculated on 4th March 2007 that Crouch would be one of Martin Jol's summer targets for Spurs, along with West Brom defender Curtis Davies.

Crouch was included in Fabo Capello's first international squad as England manager for the clash with Switzerland on 6th February 2008

On 13th April 2008 the News of the World claimed that " Portsmouth are winning a three-way fight ahead of Newcastle and Aston Villa to secure the services of Liverpool striker Peter Crouch in a £6m deal this summer." The Portsmouth rumour resurfaced in May 2008 but Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez said that it would require £15m for any suitors to acquire Crouch. The People reported on 11th May 2008 linked Crouch with a move overseas to Villareal; with the player buying out his contract.

On 11th July 2008, Crouch re-signed for Portsmouth in a deal that could be worth to £11m. Liverpool are expected to initially receive in the region of £9m for Crouch, who joined the club from Southampton in July 2005 but only started nine Premier League games in 2007/8. The England striker has signed a four-year contract at Fratton Park. Crouch said: "It's fantastic to be back. I believe Harry gets the best out of me and think the best years of my career can be here. This club is going places and they can match my ambitions. The chance of regular first team football was part of the appeal. I know I'll have to work hard to prove myself in training, but I believe my best years are in front of me. I had a fantastic three years at Liverpool and I would not change it for the world. I am privileged to have played for such a top club. Towards the end I did not get as many games as I would have liked but I will only take good memories away. In no way am I stepping down, I feel I am joining a club that is going places with a new stadium, a new training ground and some very good players." Crouch scored 40 goals in 135 appearances for Liverpool

On 31st May 2009, The People claimed that Crouch would be Steve Bruce's first signing as Sunderland manager using Ellis Short's finances for a £12m bid. He was also linked with a £11million pound move to spearhead Fulham's Europa League challenge (with the Cottagers said to be selling Bobby Zamora to Hull to part-fund Crouch's purchase.). In the end, Crouch returned to his first club Tottenham, reuniting with Harry Redknapp his manager at Portsmouth. The deal was completed on 27th July 2009 for an undisclosed fee rumoured to be around £9m. If so then this would take his total transfer fees to £35m, making him the most expensive English striker of all time. Crouch proved good value for money when he scored the only goal in the clash with Manchester City on 5th May 2010 with Tottenham winning the race with City for fourth place in the Premier League and a place in the Champions' League.

Crouch was included in England's squad for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and given the number 9 shirt, but only played in the draws with USA and Algeria - both as substitute

On 8th August 2010, the News of the World speculated that new Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson would attempt to bring Crouch back to Anfield. The same paper reported on the same day that Crouch had romped with a teenage Spanish prositute whilst on a stag-do.

On 10th August 2011, Crouch was the subject of a bid, along with teammate Wilson Palacios, from Stoke City. Both players finally joined Stoke on 31st August 2011 with the Potters also signing Birmingham striker Cameron Jerome. Crouch cost an initial £10million, a club record, which could rise to £12million and signed a four year deal.

At the end of the January 2013 transfer window, it was reported that QPR manager Harry Redknapp had made enquiries about signing Crouch for the fifth time.


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