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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 October 2005, 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK
Cole condemns fans' Crouch abuse
England team-mates Joe Cole and Peter Crouch
England midfielder Joe Cole described the boos greeting Peter Crouch's arrival as a substitute against Poland on Wednesday as "ridiculous".

Liverpool striker Crouch, 24, received a hostile reception at Old Trafford when he replaced Shaun Wright-Phillips in the World Cup qualifier.

Cole, 23, told BBC Radio Five Live: "It was ridiculous, he is a great player.

"Peter is an important member of the squad and he is going to have some great moments in an England shirt."

Cole added: "The booing of Peter was not good. Unfortunately, people believe what they read in the papers."

Wright-Phillips turned in an impressive performance on the right-hand side of England's midfield.

However, boss Sven-Goran Eriksson defended his decision to replace the Chelsea player with Crouch.

And he also insisted that he did not know if the crowd were booing the forward or the Swede because of his decision.

Eriksson said: "It was the right decision to substitute him, he got a knock in the first half and was not 100% fit.

"I understand the reaction but I do not know who was being booed, whether it was me or Crouch.

"Crouch is a good footballer. He had played only one-and-a-half internationals before this gamer. He has something other players don't. It is very harsh to judge him now."

Interview: England's Joe Cole


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