Peter Crouch: Winter World Cup could be ideal for England

This is a World Cup like no other and Peter Crouch says the unusual timing could be a positive for England


Gareth Southgate’s been cautious with England, but he has done incredible work over the years and deserves a lot of respect.

This squad is probably no better than the ones I played in. It’s a good squad and a good team, don’t get me wrong, but he’s got them to a World Cup semi-final and European Championship final.


That’s about where we are I think. I’d love to see us win the World Cup but I’m just not sure we’re quite at that level.


Usually, we go into tournaments flying after winning loads of qualifiers convincingly. We’re trying something a bit different this time around after the Nations League results.

Negativity Could Galvanise England 

Though sometimes a bit of negativity can bring the best out of players.

Before Italia ‘90 and Euro ‘96 there was quite a lot of negativity around England and they were our two best tournaments since 1966 before Southgate took over.

MILAN, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 23: Gareth Southgate head coach of England and Harry Kane of England during the UEFA Nations League League A Group 3 match between Italy and England at San Siro on September 23, 2022 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

You’d hope it might bring the group together.

Obviously, recent results are concerning as we’ve been poor in some games. And if we do badly you know daggers will be out for the manager. but the winter World Cup could suit England too because Christmas is our busiest period in the Premier League anyway.

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And often we hear about burn out at the end of the season when there’s a tournament. We can’t have that excuse this time either.

Missed Chances

I believe we had enough about us to do better than we did in my two World Cups. We were disappointing in 2010, but 2006 felt like a team that could’ve gone and won it.

We had so many good players then – Beckham, Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard. Wayne’s red card versus Portugal killed us.

It was such a horrible way to end a tournament that had been a great experience for me.

It was my first major tournament, I scored my first goal for England against Trinidad & Tobago in the group, and I loved being there.

That goal was huge because we’d really struggled to break them down. Playing with David Beckham was amazing, he put in an incredible cross for it.

I wasn’t well-liked in Trinidad after that. I’d pulled Brent Sancho’s hair as I scored. I honestly hadn’t even realised I did it until after the game.

Everyone was asking me “Do you think it was a foul?” I was, like, “No, what are you talking about?!”

I was trying to get leverage to head it. Sometimes you’d pull a shirt or push off someone’s shoulder. I just happened to grab his hair. I had no idea until I saw the replay.

I spoke to him recently and I think he’s forgiven me. I was still happy to get that goal though.


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