Spurs stars react to being snubbed by their countries
Peter Crouch insists that he will not turn his back on England, refuting rumours that the Spurs striker has had enough of being snubbed by Fabio Capello.
However, William Gallas concedes that he has “drawn a line” under his France career after being omitted from all of Laurent Blanc’s squads to date.
Crouch has scored 22 goals in 42 internationals, but has only started one England game in the last 13 months, and he did not even make the bench at Wembley on Saturday, as the Three Lions were held to a 2-2 draw by Switzerland.
Capello opted to name Fulham’s Bobby Zamora among the substitutes instead – yet another embarrassment for Crouch after a humiliating World Cup last summer.
The 30-year-old appeared for a total of just 17 minutes in South Africa last year, getting 11 minutes in the 1-1 draw with USA and six minutes in the goalless draw with Algeria.
Despite his impressive goalscoring record for England, Crouch subsequently remained on the bench throughout the fateful 4-1 defeat to Germany as Capello famously summoned Emile Heskey from the bench instead.
And the latest snub on Saturday sparked suggestions that the Spurs striker would refuse to play for England while Capello is in charge.
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While taking part in an FA kickabout initiative with schoolkids today, Crouch joked: “It’s nice just to get a game, to be honest.”
However, after the event, he denied that he will turn his back on his country.
“Do I want to carry on playing for England? Yes, of course,” he said. “I would never give up playing for my country at any stage. It’s an honour.”
Ironically, the man who wore the England No9 shirt on Saturday was Darren Bent – who was replaced by Crouch at Tottenham two years ago.
Bent has since scored 41 league goals for Sunderland and Aston Villa, while Crouch has mustered just 12 top-flight goals for Spurs.
However, the Tottenham man has a hard-earned reputation as a prolific scorer against foreign defences, when his aerial attributes become more effective.
Crouch scored seven times in 10 Champions League games this season, including strikes against Inter Milan and AC Milan. Bent, on the other hand, has not appeared in Europe since leaving White Hart Lane.
Crouch’s frustration at his international status is mirrored by Gallas, who admits he is paying the price for last summer’s World Cup debacle, when the players staged a coup against the management, refused to train and were eliminated in the group stages.
Now, having realised that Blanc has no intention of recalling him, the 33-year-old fears that his international career will forever be overshadowed by his actions in South Africa.
“When I saw that I had returned to my top level with Tottenham I thought Blanc would recall me,” he said.
“It was said that the best would be selected and I think this season I was one of the best French players in my position.
“Well if it’s like that, I have drawn a line under my international career.
“We made decisions that were wrong [at the World Cup], but at the time we were in a bubble, we were oblivious.
“This image haunts me and I know it will pursue me. I’ve had 16 years at the top level and one decision, one mistake has screwed up everything.”
Ironically, Gallas’ successor in the French set-up could be his Spurs team-mate Younes Kaboul, who made his senior debut for his country yesterday – and scored in a 4-1 friendly win over Ukraine in Donetsk.