There won’t be any live football for the foreseeable future but that doesn’t mean we can’t still talk about the beautiful game.
Rather than feeling sorry for ourselves, Sportsmail picked up the phone and spoke to our columnist Peter Crouch for a good old fashioned football chit-chat.
This week, Crouch has reflected on haircuts to perfect hat-tricks, the best two-footed player he played with, his new dog… and Djibril Cisse’s dreadful dress sense!
Peter Crouch answers your questions as part of a new weekly series here on Sportsmail
Are you in desperate need of a trim like the rest of us or have you been brave enough to let Abbey loose with the scissors during lockdown?
Paul via Twitter
No, Paul – and I don’t intend to let her, either. It’s no slight on my wife’s hairdressing skills but, with nowhere to go for the foreseeable future, I thought this was a prime opportunity to try something new. I’m going to grow my hair long.
It crossed my mind to go full-on caveman and have a beard as well but Abbey read an article to me about the bacteria that grows in beards. After that, it wasn’t an option. Long hair, however, is something I’ve always fancied.
In a couple of months I expect to emerge looking like Michael Bolton.
What’s your view on substitutes? It seems ridiculous to me that teams can bring on subs as a time wasting ploy. I think substitutes should be allowed up to the 75th minute only, except in cases of genuine injury.
Doug Meredith via email
That’s a very good point, Doug. I’ve not really considered it before. If your rules had been implemented during my career, it would have cost me a few appearances in the Premier League – I came on 158 times, which is a record.
If there are six substitutions, there should be six minutes of added time – it’s simple but that doesn’t always happen. I do hate substitutions in the final seconds, as they are degrading to players. You won’t touch the ball or have any influence and walk off almost immediately. It’s insult, really.
Crouch made several appearances off the substitutes’ bench during career in Premier League
I played for Swindon, Wolves, Crystal Palace, Cardiff and Newport County from 1957 to 1976. In the 1964-65 season, I scored a headed hat-trick against Sunderland at Molyneux in a 3- 0 win. Did you score any headed hat-tricks?
Bobby Woodruff via email
Fair play, Bobby! That’s some achievement. I’ve had a good think and don’t believe I managed to do it in professional football. I must have done it at youth level but the most headers I can ever remember scoring in a senior game were two for Tottenham against Stoke, in April 2011.
I did score the perfect hat-trick – right foot, left foot and a header against Arsenal – for Liverpool, in March 2007 but Duncan Ferguson (Everton v Bolton, December 1997) and Salomon Rondon (West Brom v Swansea, December 2016) are the only players to get a Premier League headed treble.
Crouch scored the perfect hat-trick against Arsenal for Liverpool, in March 2007
Peter who would be your choice as the best two footed player you played with? My hero was Nottingham Forest’s John Robertson – a superb crosser with his left foot but took penalties with his right.
Neil Johnson via email
I may surprise you with this, Neil, but Ledley King is the answer. We were in Tottenham’s youth team together and you would see him doing these tricks with his left foot – round the worlds, step-overs, keepy-ups. He did it all so effortlessly, it was just insane.
Then we would go into a match and he would start pinging these passes with his right foot – 20, 30 40 yards, all like a laser. We would say to him: ‘Ledley, are you right or left footed?’ and he wouldn’t be able to answer. Another underrated two-footed player was Nigel Quashie.
I played with some phenomenal players, such as Steven Gerrard and Gareth Bale, who were predominantly one-footed. It didn’t matter to Ledley, however. He was just as comfortable with the ball on either side.
Crouch says ex-Tottenham defender Ledley King is the best two-footed player he played with
Have you got a hidden talent that nobody knows about?
Presti’s Magic Hat via Twitter
I’m not sure about that, Presti. I know it’s been said that I am planning on entering a dog for Cruft’s but I think I need to clarify I’m not some kind of dog whisperer. We’ve just welcomed a dog into our house, a lovely black Labrador, and we are trying to come up with a name.
We have got the shortlist down to three – Sonny, Elvis… or Jurgen. My wish is to be able to take him to the park and walk him without the need for a lead. We had a dog when I was a kid that used to bolt when it saw the park gates and leave me chasing forlornly. I’m hoping history doesn’t repeat.
What were the typical things you would do in the evening after a game if you won or lost?
Terry Pipe via Twitter
They are two very different scenarios, Terry, but my routine didn’t really change. I liked to have a beer after I played. I was always so hyped up that if I didn’t have a beer, my mind would be racing at night. It helped me calm down and, eventually, sleep.
If we won and I was out in town, I’d make sure that I recorded Match of the Day to watch it in the morning. If we lost, I wouldn’t think about watching anything at all as the frustration would be too raw. The best time to analyse a bad performance, I felt, was always Monday morning.
If Crouch’s team had won he would record Match of the Day to watch it the following morning
What was the worst away playing strip you wore? (Picture please!!)
Josh Woods, aged 8 via email
Great question, Josh! I was lucky, really, that I played in some nice kits. My favourite was an all-black one for Portsmouth. It was made by a manufacturer called Canterbury, who used to provide kit for a lot of rugby teams.
The bonus for me was that they were used to kitting out tall sportsmen, so their tracksuits and kits always fitted me perfectly. The worst kit I had to wear, on the other hand, was a purple away one for Tottenham that was made by a company called Pony. It was as bad as it sounds!
The worst kit Crouch wore was a purple away one for Spurs made by a company called Pony
I’m watching the Sunderland documentary on Netflix but can you help – what do footballers carry in those little man bags?
Runner in France via Twitter
The bags are little for a reason, Runner. The important stuff – boots, shin pads, kit – are always looked after by the kit man. We don’t have a great deal of stuff to look after other than iPads, chargers, headphones. Then you have the wash bag.
Every washbag will be filled with all kinds of lotions and potions; expensive deodorants, aftershave, face creams – you name it. When it comes to the showers, I can guarantee one thing. The shower gel being used will be the little free miniatures that were taken from the hotel the previous night.
Honestly, you’d see these little bottles being handed around with every last drop being squeezed out – unless, of course, we had stayed in a Malmaison. If you ever stayed in one, you will know the bottles are big enough for a small family.
Who was the worst dressed player when you played for Liverpool?
Jimmy Mc via email
I’m going to have to put my hand up and admit responsibility here, Jimmy. I would have thrown Djibirl Cisse forward. My God, he wore some bad clothes. The thing with Djib, however, was he tried to be outrageous and make a statement with his gear.
I, on the other hand, had no such excuse. I just wore some bad clothes. I would argue, nonetheless, that around that time, none of us could lay claim to being fashion icons. You may have seen a famous picture of Manchester United’s squad all wearing baggy jeans and big jumpers.
That, I’m afraid, could easily have been us. I will leave you with that though. Until next week, as always, stay safe.
Crouch revealed Djibirl Cisse (left) tried to be outrageous and make a statement with his gear