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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 March 2006, 01:19 GMT
England players hail hero Crouch

By Phil McNulty
BBC Sport chief football writer at Anfield

Peter Crouch scored his first goal for England against Uruguay
Crouch's England shirt had different numbers on the front and back

Peter Crouch was hailed by his England team-mates after silencing his critics with a match-winning performance in the friendly win against Uruguay.

Crouch was jeered by England fans in the World Cup qualifier against Poland - but was the hero as a substitute at Anfield on Wednesday, scoring the equaliser before Joe Cole's injury-time strike sealed the 2-1 win.

Wayne Rooney said: "We're all really pleased for Peter. He's a great lad who did really well when he came on.

"He took some unfair stick in the past, but he has been playing very well at club level for Liverpool and has now shown what he can do for us."

And Crouch's Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard added: "He's done really well for us at Liverpool. He has had criticism at international level, but he has proved them wrong with that goal here.

"He's a good lad and a good player and we are obviously delighted he has helped us get the win here."

England captain David Beckham joined the chorus of praise for Crouch, saying: "Everyone in the dressing room is pleased for him.

"When you go for a little while without scoring at international level it can be tough, but to score his first goal for England on his home ground will be great for his confidence."

Crouch almost created a goal for Cole before he scored his winner, but his performance was a vindication for coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, who has maintained his faith in the giant Liverpool striker in the face of fierce criticism.

England defender Gary Neville, meanwhile, claimed the victory achieved with a shadow squad of players after a rash of substitutions from Eriksson proved the squad's strength.

He said: "If we keep everyone fit we have got a great chance of winning every game. We believe in ourselves and we have got a great group of players now.

"We have shown here that we have got some good competition for places and have got a stronger squad than we have had in the past.

"We need to keep our big players fit though, which is all any team can ask as they prepare for a major tournament."

Interview: Sven-Goran Eriksson

Interview: England's Joe Cole

Interview: England striker Peter Crouch

Interview: England's Michael Carrick

England 2-1 Uruguay
01 Mar 06 |  Internationals
Eriksson praises Cole performance
01 Mar 06 |  Internationals
International photos
01 Mar 06 |  Photo Galleries


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