Writer: Ryan Kalisz
Date:Saturday October 8 2011
The arrival of Peter Crouch to the Britannia Stadium attracted national attention, not to mention the 4 busloads of Stoke fans waiting at stupid-o`clock in the morning to greet the 6`7`` striker. Unfortunately I was away in Turkey scouting Besiktas (asking a Turkish cleaner 'who the bloody hell are they` as I lounged by the pool under a roasting red-hot summer day with ice-cream in one hand and tanning cream in the other) so I couldn`t make it to the gathering.
Crouch was given a big boost to his motivation after what seemed to him as dropping down a level by coming to Stoke, or at least to his Mrs anyway, but never mind Abbey; you`re back in Cheshire now aren`t you sweetheart? I`ll give her one thing, the Potteries Shopping Centre isn`t quite Harrods but we`ve got the Monkey Forest which makes up for everything. The animals there will at least remind her of Tottenham and her hubby`s former team-mate Gareth Bale.
Crouch`s instant love for us Stoke fans spurred him on to put in some remarkable performances, scoring goals in both the Premier League and Europe. This has been a major and much needed impact on our progression in quality, and further cementing our solidarity as a Premier League squad.
But where there`s winners, there`s losers, and Kenwyne Jones has slipped down the pecking order behind both Crouch and super Jonny Walters, losing out on the spot in the starting line-ups. Is this the start of a decline for the Whoopi Goldberg lookalike? Well according to Tony Pulis, the arrival of Crouch will have a positive impact on him and will help to get the best out of the former Sunderland man.
Pulis said: 'Kenwyne had been looking sharp again this season before his injury, and us bringing in Peter Crouch will improve him.
'Peter is a top player and Kenwyne will learn from him. But Kenwyne is also a great player and I have great respect for him.
'On his day he is unplayable and as good as anything in the Premier League.
'The competition will bring the best out of him.'
There`s nothing like a bit of healthy competition between players, especially from the manager`s perspective. Players want to play regardless of what they are being paid, unless your name is Carlos Tevez of course, but it`ll be a hard hit for Jones to lose out on games to a newcomer and his bum will be itching to get off the bench. We know that there is now competition for Kenwyne to rise to, but the questions I put to you are these; (a) will he be motivated enough for the challenge, and (b) if he is, will he be able to match or even better the quality of Crouch, or the work ethic or Walters?
I think he will be up for it and will certainly want to re-establish himself, but with tough competition in Crouch and Walters, he might only be up for it for a short while. Don`t forget, Cameron Jerome will want to be challenging too so it`ll be a battle for the two spots upfront. May I throw another one into the mixer in the form of Sidibe, who is a firm favourite with Pulis. What`s that got to do with anything you may ask, but Diao is a favourite with the gaffer and often gets ahead of others who should be starting, so who knows? What do you think?
Date:Saturday October 8 2011
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