Stoke City: Premier goals remedy for Peter Crouch after England snub
PETER Crouch is under orders to answer his England snub with more Premier League goals ahead of tomorrow's returns to old club Liverpool.
City boss Tony Pulis has told his beanpole striker there is no time to feel sorry for himself after failing to join club colleague Ryan Shawcross in the England set-up.
He says Crouch must continue what he has started this season after bagging four goals in his last four games going into tomorrow's clash at Anfield (3pm).
"I'm disappointed and Peter is disappointed," said Pulis, "but Roy (Hodgson) has a responsibility to the nation to pick the team he thinks is best.
"I've spoken to Peter about it. I said the most important thing now is he gets back to playing well, scoring goals and then hopefully it will drop for him.
"He was exceptional last year and he's been on fire this year. He's probably been our best player."
But Pulis is confident his leading striker can bounce back from the disappointment of being overlooked for West Ham's Andy Carroll ahead of England's World Cup qualifiers at home to San Marino (October 12) and away to Poland (October 16)
"He's a big boy and he has to take it on the chin and get on with it," Pulis added.
"Peter was the first to go up to Ryan and congratulate him – and that speaks volumes for the lad."
Crouch will be waiting by the phone for an 11th-hour reprieve tonight, however, should the fit-again Carroll aggravate his recent hamstring injury against Arsenal this afternoon.
Crouch will take his place in what should be an un-named Stoke team as Pulis looks to keep faith with the players starting last week's 2-0 home success against Swansea City – Stoke's first win of the season.
That means another place on the bench for frontman Michael Owen on his return to the club where his glittering career first took off in the late 1990s.
Pulis said the former England striker will be treated the same as anyone else as he strives to recover his peak fitness.
But he is certain he won't be a big name falling by the wayside because he can't live with the club's work ethic – a charge that may have been levelled in the recent past at the likes of fellow forwards Tuncay and Eidur Gudjohnsen.
"Michael looks stronger and he looks fitter already," said Pulis.
"He's just got to bide his time – and his time will come, I'm sure of that. He's been unfortunate because the team has played so well.
"We've only lost one game this year and that was away to the European champions when we were unlucky.
"He's helped just walking into the club because he's lifted the profile and lifted the players.
"And he's certainly helped make them train harder."
STOKE City's return fixture against Liverpool at the Britannia on Boxing Day is set for a 7.45pm kick-off to accommodate live TV coverage.