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.

Life and Style
love + sex
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
News
people
Sport
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all