Belfast Telegraph

Whitehead backs Crouch Euro calls

Stoke midfielder Dean Whitehead believes there are few strikers in the top flight better than Peter Crouch at the moment.

Crouch headed home the winner from Jermaine Pennant's free-kick in the Potters' 2-1 home victory over Wolves on Saturday, following his wonder strike against Manchester City in the previous game at the Britannia Stadium. Several pundits have said the 31-year-old forward should be given an England recall in time for Euro 2012.

"When you give players like Crouchy that sort of quality, they are going to score goals. He has scored quite a few recently, and I really don't think there are many better than him in the league at the moment," Whitehead told

Stoke boss Tony Pulis said on Saturday that if the decision was his, "game changer" Crouch would certainly be going to the tournament.

Stoke, who moved up to 11th in the table with their come-from-behind triumph over Wolves, are back in action on Monday with an away game against one of Crouch's former clubs, 15th-placed Aston Villa.

That will be the 51st match of a gruelling season for the Potters which has seen them reach the last 32 of the Europa League and the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

Whitehead says the team are determined to end it on a high by achieving a top 10 finish, something they are yet to do in the Premier League.

"You have to praise all of the lads because it has been a long hard season, but we will still be in there battling all the way through to the last whistle on the final day of the season," Whitehead said.

"We want to show that we aren't prepared to let what has been a fantastic season just fizzle out. We want to get into the top 10 - that is our target now.

"This win (against Wolves) should set us up well for Monday's game against Aston Villa, so we will go there full of confidence, and hopefully get another three points."


From Belfast Telegraph