Peter Crouch has worked out very quickly that a lot the people who hated him six months ago yet loved him a fortnight ago are probably very fickle. With this in mind he’s decided to point out that his robot dance is being put away for the time being.
At the moment the press are having fun with England’s striker situation. Coach Sven Goran Eriksson decided he would take four forwards with him to Germany. Wayne Rooney, in case you missed it, is one of the four but may not be available until the knockout stage because he’s carrying an injury. He’s carrying the same injury (although not as severe) as the one Michael Owen has been trying to recover from. Owen finally managed to get to fitness as far as the broken bones were concerned, but his lack of action on the field meant his match fitness wasn’t as good as it might have been. As far as the press are concerned now Owen is finished for this tournament, even though it was probably a very sensible long-term view from Eriksson to take him off the field early on Saturday. All the players were feeling the heat, so the one who had the least match-fitness was likely to struggle too. Another striker in England’s squad is the untried Theo Walcott. Untried by his club and his country, he’s now also got an ankle injury sustained in training. All in all that leaves just one striker 100% fit – and that’s Crouch. Media being media and pundits being pundits, the spin will soon be back round to Crouch not being good enough and his robot dance being silly. They’ll not catch Crouch out though, he’s used to the name calling and unconstructive criticism.
So how does it feel to be England’s only fully fit striker in a World Cup tournament where expectations are so high? Great says Crouch: “I do feel there is a certain responsibility on me now but I’m enjoying it. To be part of the England set-up at a World Cup is great and to be fully fit and feeling confident is an added bonus. I can’t worry about anyone else’s fitness. I’ve got to concentrate on my own game and helping the team to progress.”
Crouch is playing in a position where confidence is extremely important, and to have come through the barrage of abuse levelled at him by not only fans of opposition club teams last season but also fans of the country he was playing for shows how much character he has. He wins people over, no matter how grumpy and ignorant they might be, and he’s won himself over by believing in himself: “I always felt I could succeed at this level but, with the way I’ve been playing, I have definitely got more belief. I didn’t set out to prove anybody wrong. I set out to be the best I can be. I’m the same as anybody else – once you’ve played you want to stay in the team. It’s the manager’s decision and you have to go with that. But my job is to play as well as I can to influence that decision.”
Crouch was unable to believe that he got booked on Saturday for nothing (our words) but wouldn’t have a go at the referee – he says it’s a different tournament and perhaps different interpretations of the laws of the game that resulted in his yellow. Like Gerrard, he’s now got that card hanging over him and threatening him with a suspension. He said of the card: “It was overly fussy, but I don’t want to blame referees, I have to adapt. I will have to address it. It seemed that if I touched anyone it would be a free-kick. In the Premiership I wouldn’t get pulled up for half the things I was getting penalised for out there. I don’t want to get booked again. The booking is in the back of my mind.”
Rafa’s judgement in spending £7m on the forward a year ago was questioned by many, but very few still feel that way right now. It seems that Rafa is keeping a close eye on his forward and spoke to him on the phone on Monday to pass on his best wished for the tournament.
After showing it off the royalty and performing it three times on the pitch, Crouch seems set to retire the robot dance from his game. He had originally been messing about at the Beckhams’ pre World Cup party when he was filmed doing the dance for the ITV coverage, before replicating it I an England shirt. He says it now needs to be forgotten about – it’s over: “It was a bit of harmless fun at first, which seems to have escalated a little bit, but I’m not sure I’ll be doing the robotics again.”
Events are too important for robot dances now though: “If we win the World Cup maybe you’ll see the whole team do the celebrations, but for the moment I don’t think I will be doing it again. It is a serious business we are in. I know that more than anyone. It’s an important time we’re in now. It’s not about robotic dances. It’s about scoring goals and winning football matches.”
So maybe we will see the robotic dance again, but it’s going to take a string of performances from Crouch and England for that to happen. If it does happen, there’ll be a new Coldplay single out to celebrate it, and all in honour of Crouch. The band were playing at the Isle of Wight festival at the weekend and were obviously taken aback by Peter’s “shapes”. Singer Chris Martin has promised that if England do finally manage to win that World Cup that they’ll release a single in honour of Crouch.
Speaking to the crowd at the gig on Sunday night, Martin said: “I’ve got a secret to share with you. If England do well in the World Cup we’re going to release a single called ‘Do the Crouch’. So if England win the world cup we’re going to get our first number one.”
According to NME, Martin claimed the song would be “very simple” with the lyrics: “Get up off the sofa/ get up off the couch/ stop what you’re doing and do the Crouch/”.
As further evidence that Crouchamania is indeed running wild, the band felt compelled to include references to the 6 foot 7 striker in many of their other songs. For example ‘Talk’ had lyric changes referencing Liverpool’s tall forward and ‘Don’t Panic’ had the promised lyrics from ‘Do the Crouch’ ad-libbed into it.
Martin also had a go at doing Crouch’s dance moves during ‘In My Place’.