Crouch hurt by 'unfair' England treatment


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The Independent Football

Peter Crouch has spoken for the first time about his discontent over his treatment by Fabio Capello, who left him out of the England squad for Saturday's Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland, but has confirmed his intention to carry on playing for the national team.

Crouch, 30, has been frozen out by Capello since last summer's World Cup finals when he was given just 18 minutes on the pitch over two of England's four games despite a record that stands today at 22 goals in 42 caps. Saturday was a new low for him when even without Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe and Andy Carroll in the squad he was not even picked on the bench.

Crouch told The Independent: "I am obviously disappointed with what went on against Switzerland and I am going to think about it all over the summer. He [Capello] has made his feelings clear about how he feels about me. But I would never retire from England, it is an honour to play for my country."

Speaking to the BBC, Crouch said: "I feel that whenever I've played for England, I've done well, so I felt maybe I've been slightly unfairly treated. Playing for England is the pinnacle of any England player's career and I absolutely love doing it. If I get a minute on the pitch for England, that's great, if I get 90 that's a lot better."

Despite reports that Crouch was still suffering from a back problem last week, the Spurs striker confirmed that he was completely fit and free of any injury. His goalscoring record for England – one every 99 minutes spent on the pitch – has not saved him from slipping down the pecking order dramatically. Capello continues to pick him for squads but the striker has featured just twice in the nine games since the World Cup – scoring in the second of those games against France in November.

On Saturday he was selected behind a half-fit Bobby Zamora who has one cap and is yet to score for England, prompting speculation that Crouch was about to retire from international football. Although Crouch said in other interviews yesterday that he was going to "think about" his situation over the summer and would not make "any stupid decisions", he is not planning to quit international football.

There is, however, growing disillusionment with Capello among some of his players. Rio Ferdinand is unhappy at his treatment over the cack-handed transferral of the captaincy back to John Terry in March. Equally Frank Lampard is understood to have been angry at his substitution at half-time of the 2-2 draw on Saturday having scored a first-half penalty.

As is often the case, retirement from the England team has been discussed in private by some individuals but many are now looking ahead 12 months when Capello's contract runs out – after Euro 2012, providing England qualify – and, accordingly, delaying decisions to see who is appointed his successor.