Pulis backs Crouch for a return to England fold


You have to go back to 1984 for the last time a Stoke City player appeared for England. That was Mark Chamberlain, father of Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but Tony Pulis believes the club are finally due international recognition again in the shape of Peter Crouch.

A fortnight after his remarkable volleyed goal against Manchester City, Crouch's classic headed winner in Saturday's victory over bottom club Wolves was another reminder of the Euro 2012 claims of a striker, frozen out by Fabio Capello, who has not played for England since scoring as a substitute in the 2-1 friendly defeat by France in November 2010.

Crouch's 22 goals in 42 internationals is an impressive rate that could enhance his appeal to Harry Redknapp, his old manager at Portsmouth and Tottenham, should he finally fill the vacuum created by Capello's departure.

Pulis, who paid a club record £10m fee for the 31-year-old, said: "Whoever gets the job, whether it's Harry or whoever, looking at the strikers Peter is an option. [Wayne] Rooney is going to miss the first two games and nobody can tell me Peter can't do this or that. He is playing as well as ever. I'd love him to have the summer off, but if he gets selected there will be nobody more delighted than me. He's absolutely desperate to play for England, he is desperate. He'd walk over there."

Pulis insists there is nothing "one-dimensional" about the big forward's game, a view reinforced by Crouch's team-mate Dean Whitehead. "It would be stupid not to take him [to Euro 2012]," said the midfielder. "Everyone says he's 6ft 7in so he heads the ball, but I tell you what, his touch and technique on the ball are different class."

Crouch's strike lifted Stoke to 11th, raising hopes, ahead of today's trip to Aston Villa, of their first top-10 finish in the elite division since 1975. It also inflicted a sixth successive defeat on seemingly doomed Wolves. Their manager, Terry Connor, argued with some justification that Stephen Ward was harshly penalised for the free-kick leading to Crouch's goal, but his team lost a lead for the third game running, after Michael Kightly had put them ahead.

Connor, whose charges face Arsenal at Molineux on Wednesday, has taken just one point from 21 since replacing Mick McCarthy but vowed to battle on. "My job is to look after the football club until 13 May, which I am very happy and very proud to do," he said.

Aston Villa v Stoke

Aston Villa: Given, Hutton, Collins, Baker, Warnock, Albrighton, Gardner, Bannan, N'Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Weimann

Stoke: Begovic, Wilson, Huth, Shawcross, Wilkinson, Shotton, Palacios, Delap, Etherington, Walters, Crouch

Odds: Home 5-4; Draw 9-4; Away 9-4.

Kick-off Today, 5.30pm (Highlights BBC1 10.20pm)

Team news Villa forward Andreas Weimann is in contention for a recall. The Austrian came off the bench against Liverpool having not trained all week because of an ankle injury. Stoke are stet to freshen up their side with defender Andy Wilkinson, who has been nursing a groin complaint, in contention for a return.

Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Midsummer swimwear season is well and truly upon us – but diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice