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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 June 2006, 15:29 GMT 16:29 UK
Eriksson to use Crouch in opener
England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson
Eriksson applauds the crowd after his final game on home soil
England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has revealed he will start with Peter Crouch in attack in the World Cup opener against Paraguay on 10 June.

The Swede has been convinced by Crouch after he followed up his goal against Hungary with a hat-trick in the 6-0 win over Jamaica on Saturday.

"Peter Crouch had a fantastic game," said Eriksson. "He won almost everything in the air and scored goals.

"I think he will start next Saturday. I think he deserves it."

But the Swede did have some criticism for Crouch over the forward's ambitious attempt to chip in a penalty when going for his third goal.

"The only thing I would criticise him about a little bit is how he took the penalty," said Eriksson.

"It was a golden opportunity but he joked about it and was sorry afterwards.

If the manager is saying I have got a chance to start that's great for me

England striker Peter Crouch

"He should have taken it seriously. You can miss them, but don't take them that way.

"If it was a penalty shoot-out I doubt he would have taken it in that way - I certainly hope not."

Frank Lampard and Michael Owen were also on the scoresheet while Jermaine Taylor's own goal also contributed to a confidence-boosting win for England.

"Jamaica maybe aren't the best team in the world but six goals and a clean sheet - you should be happy," said Eriksson.

The 57-year-old will be replaced by Steve McClaren as England manager after the World Cup and he praised the fans after his final match in charge of the national team on home soil.

"Tears? Maybe not, but I felt very proud, it was very nice, it was fantastic," he said.

"Perhaps they don't all want me out of the job!

"It was emotional, very much so, and a big, big 'thank you' from me to them."

Peter Crouch celebrates a goal with Michael Owen
Crouch celebrates a goal with Michael Owen

Crouch made amends for his penalty miss when he struck a first-time shot to complete his hat-trick.

Crouch said: "I've obviously enjoyed the game and it was important we went off to a good send off and we did that.

"I thought I had blown that hat-trick. I was really disappointed and there was a bit of over-confidence coming out there. But thankfully I managed to get the hat-trick in the end."

Asked about his thoughts on Eriksson saying he would start against Paraguay in Frankfurt he said: "That was always the intention.

"I just tried to make an impact after coming off the bench against Hungary and against Jamaica, hopefully, I've proved I can start and affect games.

"If the manager is saying I have got a chance to start that's great for me."

What we have to focus on is playing well in those big games

England striker Michael Owen

England captain David Beckham insisted his substitution was only a precaution after he came off with a slightly swollen ankle.

He was buoyed by the result against Jamaica as well as the performance of Crouch, who was booed in the penultimate World Cup qualifier against Austria at the same venue.

"I think it was pleasing from a few aspects - the way we played, the formation (4-4-2), and Michael scoring because there have been people mentioning that.

"I think our overall play was very good, confident, we got the early goal and went on from there."

He added: "We're all very pleased for Peter. The last time we played here (prior to Tuesday's game against Hungary) he got booed, which was uncalled for.

"But if you look out there today, it's totally different. He's not just a great lad and a great footballer but he's a great goalscorer and he showed that."

England striker Michael Owen scored his first goal since returning from a long-term foot injury and he looked ahead to adding to his tally in Germany.

He said: "I'm sure it will give me confidence. I would prefer to score rather than not.

"Any striker will tell you that you need goals for confidence but I would have settled for not scoring if it meant I would have scored in one of the big games.

"What we have to focus on is playing well in those big games."

SEE ALSO
England 6-0 Jamaica
03 Jun 06 |  England
England team guide
22 May 06 |  England
World Cup profiles
29 May 06 |  England
Pick your England team
08 May 06 |  Squad selectors
World Cup schedule
25 May 06 |  Schedule
Have your say on the World Cup
28 Apr 06 |  Football
BBC World Cup coverage
27 Apr 06 |  BBC coverage


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