by Thomas Rooney
When Norwich signed Peter Crouch on loan back in September 2003, he was a forgotten man and rotting in the Aston Villa reserves. Fast forward five years and he is a regular for England and Portsmouth are about to pay £11m for his services. It’s been quite a turnaround for the striker in recent years hasn’t it?
I would personally argue that the three months he spent at Carrow Road had a lot to do with how far he has come (Ed – you would Thomas 🙂). It gave him the chance to rebuild his confidence and start believing that he had what it takes to perform at the highest level. He only scored 4 goals in fifteen appearances for Norwich, but the impact he had on the team cannot be underestimated – he became a crowd favourite.
It seems rather crazy now, but if we had pushed the boat out a little, we probably could have signed Peter Crouch in the summer before we reached the Premiership – certainly for a small percentage of what Pompey are set to pay now. Instead though, he was lining up for Southampton and scoring against us in a crucial relegation battle towards the end of the season. He only cost £2m! If I was to bet on the Premier League that year, I would definitely have been more confident in Norwich staying up if we had Crouch, but it wasn’t to be. We went down and, as it happens, so did Southampton.
However, Crouch had started to make his name in the Premier League. He scored 16 goals for Southampton in the 2004/2005 season, with the majority of them coming after the turn of the year. In the summer of 2005, came the biggest move of Crouch’s life – he was off to Liverpool for £7m. During his time at Anfield, he has had success which always seems to be coated with a layer of frustration.
He didn’t exactly start well at Liverpool. He had to wait until his 22nd appearance for the club before he scored. However, as we well know, Crouch is a confidence player and after this first strike, he finished the season well – scoring another 15 goals that that campaign. He also started making an impact for England and was in the World Cup squad for the 2006 tournament.
However, like I said, his time at Liverpool was frustrating. No matter how well he played, no matter how many goals he scored, there was always a chance that Rafa Benitez would drop him for the next game. He has started 55 Premier League games for Liverpool and has come off the bench on a staggering 30 occasions. In this time he has scored 22 league goals. That’s really not a bad record considering the amount of times he has come on with ten minutes to go in a game and expected to make an impact.
Now it seems that he is off to Portsmouth – the club that he made 39 appearances for back in the 2001/2002 season – and I think he deserves the move. He deserves to be starting every week and I think he will deliver the goods. Crouch will be linking up with Jermaine Defoe and this has all the makings of an excellent partnership. Should the move be confirmed, I would be willing to put all my football betting money on Crouch scoring against Liverpool next season. Should this happen, I’d like to see the look on Benitez’s face.