Since moving to the bet365 Stadium in 2011 from Spurs, Crouch has made 147 appearances in all competitions for the Potters. Now 35 years old, has ‘Crouchy’ had his day?
Standing at 6″ 7′, Crouch is one of the tallest players to ever grace the Premier League.
His undoubted ability to cause havoc in opponent penalty areas has earned him a deserved reputation.
Delap throw, Crouch header, goal…those were the days.
Crouch’s record at Stoke City isn’t one to turn your nose up at. The Macclesfield-born frontman has scored 33 goals in those 147 appearances – just over a goal every five games.
It’s not prolific form that’s going to give him a spot in the top-flight ‘Hall of Fame’, but his job hasn’t always been to score all the goals; he’s much more than that.
As Crouch’s chances appear to get slimmer by the week, is it time for him to take a step back? Or would putting him on the waste pile be a mistake?
Crouch gives you something ‘extra’
While he’s not the most elegant of players, Crouch provides managers with a weapon not many others have.
Having a man of his stature to aim crosses and long balls at is a nightmare for any defence to contend with – it doesn’t matter how good they are.
Even the world’s best centre-halves can’t handle a seven-plus inch height difference. You just can’t compete.
In 2015, Crouch surpassed Alan Shearer as the record-holder for the most headed goals in the Premier League.
Towards the end of the 2014/15 campaign, Crouch headed in his 47th in the 6-1 drubbing over Liverpool – remember that?
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Since his record-breaking exploits however, Crouch has struggled for minutes on the pitch. The following season he made only 11 league appearances.
Crouch has only featured three times for Stoke in the league this season; the 1-0 loss to Everton in August being his only start.
Substitute cameos against West Brom and Manchester United being his only other Premier League tasters so far this campaign.
Is it time to give him another chance?
He is still being selected in the team. Despite not making it onto the pitch for the majority of Stoke City’s matches this season, he hasn’t been cast away by Mark Hughes.
Crouch has at least been on the bench for every single one of the Potters’ matches this season.
Wilfried Bony has hardly lit the bet365 Stadium up since his eagerly-anticipated arrival, and I can’t see fans’ patience lasting with the Ivorian.
Although with Crouch’s years now against him, it is hard to argue he should be starting ahead of Bony. Would he comfortably complete 90 Premier League minutes?
Of course, you can’t forget his EFL Cup heroics as he netted a hat-trick against Stevenage. Though it is difficult – with respect to the League Two side – to see if he would be able to now recreate that on a Saturday afternoon.
It was surprising to some to see Crouch named in the squad for the first game of the season at Middlesbrough, as many expected a loan move was in the offing.
A number of Championship sides including the likes of Leeds United were reportedly interested in taking him for the season, although a move never materialised. His constant presence in the match day 18 showing Hughes always had other plans, perhaps.
Having been dubbed a ‘super sub’ in the latter years of his distinguished career, Crouch will be hoping he gets the chance to prove he is exactly that a few more times this season.