Eriksson's fun and games leave court jester Crouch feeling glum

The most famous robotics dance routine in English football was given a royal seal of approval yesterday when Peter Crouch put on an impromptu performance for Prince William during training after, he said, being "goaded" into it by his team-mates. The new president of the Football Association was most amused, although when England got down to the serious business of tactical formations, Crouch was not involved.

As Prince William chatted to Wayne Rooney about his broken metatarsal bone at training yesterday, England lined up in the formation in which they finished the match against Hungary. With Gary Neville likely to be rested against Jamaica tomorrow because of his hamstring trouble, and Jamie Carragher deputising at right-back, it would appear that Owen Hargreaves, who was booed on Tuesday night when he came on, will start in the holding midfield role.

It cannot be ruled out that the England manager, Sven Goran Eriksson, dismayed by the constant leaking of his line-up to the newspapers, is now engaged in a game of bluff with the press, but after yesterday's training it appears that he will stick with the 4-1-4-1 formation for tomorrow at least. Bad news for Crouch, England's modern-day court jester, but good for Hargreaves who may get his chance to emerge from the shadows again. The 25-year-old with 30 caps, who started the first two games of the 2002 World Cup finals, could walk down most high streets in England unrecognised and has never been the supporters' first choice despite the high esteem in which Eriksson holds him. Tomorrow, it seems his defensive qualities in front of the back four will be given the chance to flourish one more time before the Paraguay match on 10 June.

So little time, so many formations to perfect - and then the second in line to the throne turned up for a chat. As the training bibs were being handed out at Manchester United's Carrington training ground, a familiar figure came striding across the pitches to check on the preparations and have a word with the players. "It was the future King of England," Crouch said, "and I have just done a dance in front of him - it was a bit surreal, really."

Having listened to a team talk from one heir-apparent in Steve McClaren - the England manager from 1 August - the players were treated to a pep talk from Prince William that made a serious impression. Frank Lampard said he was "dumbfounded" at the maturity and attitude of Prince William, although it would not be true to say that Crouch's dance routine had a similar effect.

"I think he liked it [the dance], he seemed quite happy," Crouch said. "He spoke to all of us and he seems excited about the World Cup just like all of us. I don't know who talked me into it, to be honest. I got goaded by the lads into doing it.

"There is a lot of pressure on us going into the World Cup and we just try to relax any way we can before a big tournament. It was just a bit of fun that we have had between the lads which seems to have escalated. It was quite funny and the mood of the lads is good - I think you can see that."

Crouch had first demonstrated his dance in the television programme broadcast on Sunday featuring the Beckham's pre-World Cup party. Having been warned before the show was aired by David Beckham that, Crouch said, "his wife [Victoria] had seen it and said it was hilarious" he endured two days of stick from his team-mates before re-enacting the moves after his late goal on Tuesday night.

While the smart money is still on Crouch to start for England in the tried and trusted 4-4-2 formation against Paraguay, the Liverpool striker said that he would not "sulk" if he was left out tomorrow. "There is one more friendly left before we go out there and I think there is as much pressure on me as there is on any one else," Crouch said. "We all want to be starting at the World Cup. I am no different and getting in the starting XI is my aim, but I won't sulk if I am not."

So now the focus moves to Hargreaves, who was hardly the nation's unanimous choice when he came on as a substitute in the Euro 2004 quarter-final against Portugal. The Bayern Munich midfielder has unfairly developed a reputation as a dour, functional footballer among many England supporters - more a symptom of the fact that he plays in the Bundesliga than anything else.

Nevertheless, Hargreaves has his supporters among the England squad and Frank Lampard said yesterday that he believed that his fellow midfielder could play an important role in the side as a "defensive midfield player" who was "very quick, sharp and quick into the tackle". Lampard added: "In that role you need that sharpness because you are likely to come up against some very good players. He is a good lad to have in the squad and right now we need to get behind all of the players and try to win this World Cup."

In his new role as the president of the FA, Prince William said he was keen to support the "Get into football" initiative launched by the FA's director of football, Sir Trevor Brooking, which encourages participation in football at all levels - playing, coaching and administration. An Aston Villa supporter, Prince William described the prospect of the World Cup as "awesome", with "the power to bring the country together".

He would not divulge what Rooney had told him about the state of his injury, but said that the players had promised to bring the World Cup home. For Chelsea's Joe Cole the prince's visit had an added bonus. "They got the posh food from the kitchens," he said.

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

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
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil