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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Is Crouch really the best England can currently offer at CF?!

England lost again in miserable fashion on Wednesday night to a neat and organised Spanish team. England don't play as a team, they don't play with co-ordination or composure, they don't play with rhythm or confident intent. They lack charisma and character. It's consistently bad and boring to watch this England team.

There are so many faults with this England side on an individual and team level but my focus in this post is on one player and one position: I simply can't believe that it appears that Peter Crouch is really the best English centre-forward option currently playing in the whole of England?!

Thankfully there is Wayne Rooney but he is more a Bergkamp deep-lying striker type than an out-and-out centre-forward. And it is in this crucial area that England appear to have a real lack of quality resources hence the selection - it seems - time and again of Crouch for the national team.

Crouch has some merit: he has good touch, always gives his best effort and has an excellent ability to score amazing scissor-kicks volleys. But he also has a lack of mobility, a lack of pace, a lack of power, a lack of overall sharpness, a lack of dribbling skill and a lack of ruthlessness in front of goal.

Many of these limits stifle a team from playing sharp, pacy, attacking football- and this is what England have to aim to achieve if they want to reach a higher level of achivement.

For me he is easily contained by good defences and his level of talent is simply not good enough for top class international football. He has scored goals for England but the calibre of match and oppostion - predominantly friendlies against lacklustre and limited opposition - need to be taken into account in deciding what his real worth is in the greater scheme of how to make England into a big force at international level.

A few years ago there was Shearer, Ferdinand, Sheringham, Owen, Cole, Wright, Fowler - all prolific strikers and at a higher talent level than Crouch. On Wednesday there was only the increasingly disappointing and stagnating Defoe as an option to the tall Liverpool forward. This is poor times for England when this is the current status-quo in the centre-forward line.

Darren Bent and Andrew Johnson - two strikers with more all-round sharpness and dynamism than Crouch - were injured for the friendly and I'd be looking for these two to battle it out to be given the starting role as England's centre-forward in future matches. The can simply offer more to the team than the limited Crouch in the important centre-forward position.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i knew all along that steve mclaren was a bad choice as manager. the FA must be bold and get rid of him now. and don't tell me that they're aren't any decent managers out there - we need a big name to get hold of this dismal england team.

2/10/2007 11:10 am

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

It was extremely disappointing, not in defeat but how. We bombard Spain with shots and excellent passing, moving off the ball, sharp freekicks and crosses, close chances, making their keeper work his socks off, and then lose 0-1 it wouldn't be so bad. But for me none of the players had the gusto to take players on and break up their defence, for Spain were there for the taking particularly in the initial moments.

We can defend and hold possession and pass it around all day, we are good at that. We can get forward, our players can run, some of them with good pace, but the running at them and the final quality within their box lacked. Crouch was disappointing, so was Gerrard, so for a LFC fan that hurt. They were all disappointing other than Ben Foster, particularly SWP, who we could not use to exploit thoroughly on the right. I said all but I'm reserved on Dyer on his first time since some years ago, so to Woodgate.

When Morientes was through you could see the opening with Woodgate pulled and Ferdinand suckered, how Mori missed the goal much less not score was something. Then the goal came, the cross not closed down like we know we can do, Iniesta receives and is not closed down by Phil Neville, instead he is allowed time to gather and shoot, and I sense Foster had his view obscured and could not therefore react quicker.

Johnson, Rooney, Cole, Bridge, Terry, Darren Bent missing. If Johnson delivers the same tenacity as for Everton, it would be a relief, interesting for he and Rooney to pair up. I don't mean Crouch is to step aside but we need to establish a current striking force that delivers every game and that means we need to test other players.

As for Steve McClaren, it is early, early days. Can come good later on so to dismiss him now is premature. I just find he has plenty to smile about when the national side are lacking in delivering the quality performances of late we expect from them as the creme de la Premiership. I listened to one caller on the radio say we should have Championship players out there instead as they know what it is to have passion and pride and actually playing to earn your crust rather than take for granted you are a household name and an international outright. Has a point.

What we could do with is some players with flair who can spot an opening and say 'Yes, I'll go for that', without reservation like Christiano Ronaldo. Our nearest player to him is Joe Cole.


RedsMan.

2/10/2007 1:17 pm

 
Anonymous Striker said...

Crouch has an asset that needs to be exploited - his height & air skills. Therefore to maximize that , England needs to play with wingers & crossing over into the area for Crouch. Beckham & his crosses onto the head fit this style.
If England wishes to play otherwise, then Crouch is not the man
Cheers ET guys.

2/11/2007 5:45 pm

 
Anonymous Striker said...

Crouch has an asset that needs to be exploited - his height & air skills. Therefore to maximize that , England needs to play with wingers & crossing over into the area for Crouch. Beckham & his crosses onto the head fit this style.
If England wishes to play otherwise, then Crouch is not the man
Cheers ET guys.

2/11/2007 5:45 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps, but Crouch isn't as good in the air as you'd expect for a man his size. They really didn't play that badly, but lacked the proverbial "cutting edge." Nothing from the strikers or wingers. If Rooney and Joe Cole fit, and I think they could have won it. I suppose this just points to the lack of depth...again.

2/12/2007 11:27 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On another note, though, I think there has been a drop in the level of world-class attackers in general in the last couple of years. Spain have Torres and Villa, but neither is at the level that Morientes and Raul (who are now in their decline) were (not to mention players like Luis Enrique). RvN, Henry, Anelka, etc. all appear on the wrong side of their careers as well, and no one has stepped up to their level in their respective national sides. Who has two truly world-class strikers? I mean on current ability, not past performance or future potential. Not Germany. Not Italy. Not France. And I would argue not even Brazil.

2/12/2007 11:36 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree with the above anon comment that there are not as many world class strikers as there were only a few yrs ago. there does however seem to be a lot of top top midfielders about.

2/12/2007 5:45 pm

 
Blogger T said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. I agree with anon making the comment that Crouch is actually not as effective in the air as his height would suggest- his heading technique is not that good compared to a guy like Jan Koller who uses his height advantage really well when a cross comes in.

2/12/2007 9:52 pm

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

I still think Crouch can be utilised well providing we simply adapt to how he is best used. Striker (thanks Striker) mentioned about his height and to a degree a good touch for a tall thin player. Do they not partake in training with each other? When you have Dyer playing well with no niggling injuries backing Crouch, SWP on his favourable right-hand side, the onus seemed to be focused on using Crouch for his knockdowns and/or height advantage.

Crouch got to deliver neither, either due to lack of provided balls or his own contribution yet we have seen Crouch can deliver. Albeit it has come against minor opposition in comparison to the likes of Spain yet he can deliver. We dont criticise when the goods are delivered yet when they are not we are at the ready. It is down to the players and the coach to finalise a thorough plan of approach prior to each game, the coach particularly needs to analyse the opposition and pinpoint their weaknesses as well as enhancing our qualities. Doesn't anyone consider how practically all of our players were off par last week?

Some may say Rooney is not a striker as he merely plays off the striker, Andrew Johnson has prowess as alone striker but I believe we have tried that before and it had not worked. Further, Johnson is pushed wide. Crouch is not the only option and we simply need the likes of Johnson, Rooney, Darren Bent, Crouch, to a degree Defoe (who has yet to find the form we know he has shown before), to be all fit and available simultaneously.


RedsMan.

2/13/2007 8:19 am

 

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