There was the usual excellent, eclectic mix of anecdotes in this week’s That Peter Crouch Podcast.
The former England striker will be responding to your questions every week, and in the latest episode, he talks about whether he’d make a good winger, lobbing a set of golf clubs into a lake and what a two-year-old can learn from Robert Huth.
He also named five of his top football hackers – you can have a go at ranking them in order of best hacker.
You can send in your questions for future podcasts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘I threw my clubs into a lake’
With chat turning to the theme of post-playing careers, the cliched football retirement plan involves taking up golf, something Crouchy has done himself. Although, as he admits, it didn’t initially go according to plan…
Crouch: I am having golf lessons at the moment and sometimes you hit the ball and you think ‘oh, that was sweet’. But they’ve filmed it and when you watch it back it is just disgusting.
I sweep it and make contact and get it out but it is so far away from a golf swing. So ugly.
I need to get past the hurdle of knowing I am not going to be top-notch at this and accept a few bad shots.
When I first started, I thought I was a natural sportsman – football, tennis, ball sports, I’m good at them. I went out and had an absolute nightmare. I was breaking clubs.
I remember throwing a whole set in a lake. My first set. Well, maybe not the whole set. I threw one, I threw another and then another one. Deep into a lake. I threw another into a tree that even I couldn’t reach.
I had about three holes to play and four clubs in my bag. I couldn’t get my head round it. I’ve got better – nowhere near where I want to be – but I love it.
‘Chris Morgan’s repertoire of defending’
Finally, the guys get round to answering a question, and it’s a belter too…
Question from listener Ben: My little boy, Finley, has just turned two. He enjoys a little kick around so I am wondering… which five players would you recommend for him to study on YouTube?
Crouch: He should just watch players who give enjoyment at that age. That is what my dad did for me, he made me watch players who you can’t fail to get enjoyment from.
Look at Cristiano Ronaldo, look at Ronaldinho, players who are having a laugh as they play. Paul Gascoigne, David Ginola.
I watched Gianluca Vialli, Ronaldo. Gazza was the man. Then when I thought I had a chance I started to look more technically at how I could improve my game.
Tore Andre Flo at Chelsea, remember him? I watched him because he was tall, slim and played up front. He was similar to me in may ways. Stunning looking.
Niall Quinn was another one. Les Ferdinand, because I was at Tottenham.
Although, could showing Finley all these showboaters mean we will end up with a nation of strikers without defensive midfielders and centre-backs?
Crouch: You can scale it back and show him the other side of the game. Show him Martin Keown. Perhaps go into Chris Morgan’s repertoire of defending. Let’s have a look at Marco Materazzi.
Robert Huth was fantastic at it. He didn’t have a lot of peace but in training nobody was getting past him. If someone was quicker than him, they would push it and he would step across with the forearm every time, straight into the face.
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It didn’t matter if it was training or a match. Whoever it is, they are getting a forearm. It puts that element of doubt into a winger’s mind. I’ve seen it so many times, with top players laying it off, thinking: ‘I’m not going through that again’.
So for top five hackers: Claudio Gentile (who once fouled Diego Maradona 23 times in game) has to be in there. Robert Huth, 100%. Chris Morgan. I think Lee Cattermole. And last but not least, big Duncan Ferguson.
Question from listener Jason: Players like Wayne Rooney move into midfield late in their careers? What position would Crouchy have liked to play had he carried on?
If you look at my game, on the wings you need a bit of pace – not for me. Central midfield? I don’t think that’s for me either. I think I could only ever play centre-forward or centre-back.
But I’d have liked to have tried to have been a bit of a ball playing centre-half. If I’d have gone down to the Championship, or League One or Two, I’d have liked to have given centre-half a go.
I watched Sunderland ‘Til I Die the other day. I loved that. It’s basically them in the changing room before training, chatting and going out doing all the things I used to do. It’s the first time I went ‘I really miss it’. It’s a bit of lockdown cabin fever too. But when I saw that I really missed it.
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