Friday, 30 November 2007

Peter Crouch on Prosinecki

The following piece from the Independent was part of the preview of the England - Croatia game - I've posted this part of the article here because the rest of the piece was a bit depressing and because links to the Independent always open really slowly.

Croatia's 40-a-day man helped set England striker on fire

Peter Crouch will lead England's attack tomorrow and in the Croatia dugout will be a former European Cup-winner who knows the Liverpool striker well. Now Slaven Bilic's assistant, Robert Prosinecki once played for Real Madrid and Barcelona but, at the end of his career, a spell with Portsmouth, then owned by his friend Milan Mandaric, coincided with the rise of the young Crouch – just 20 years old at the time.

For the brief time that Crouch and Prosinecki were at Pompey they were one of the deadliest – and most unusual – partnerships the Championship had seen. Despite a love of cigarettes and questionable fitness, Prosinecki – the only man to score for two separate teams at two World Cup finals (Yugoslavia and Croatia) – had an unerring habit of picking out Crouch with crosses.

Crouch scored 19 goals in eight months at Fratton Park, most of them from the crosses of Prosinecki.

Yesterday Crouch described Prosinecki as "like David Beckham with the quality of his delivery".

Crouch, who left Portsmouth in a £5m move to Aston Villa in February 2002, recalled in his autobiography Walking Tall that Prosinecki was an "amazing player" especially for someone who "smoked about 40 cigarettes a day. He caned them," Crouch wrote. "They were Marlboro Reds, too, not for the faint-hearted. He was a top, top player but very different from what we were used to. We were English lads playing for Portsmouth and suddenly we had this massively famous player among us. He didn't do much running – he couldn't run really – but he was a fantastic player."

Sam Wallace. Independent.

No comments: