Peter Crouch has named Arsenal’s formidable back line as the toughest defence he faced and recalled one occasion where he was given a “schooling” in a heavy defeat to the Gunners.
During his illustrious playing career, Crouch netted 108 Premier League goals, travelled to two World Cups and lifted the FA Cup.
But as a 19-year-old in his breakout season at QPR, the towering striker was taught a lesson during a fourth-round FA Cup clash with Arsenal.
The Gunners ran riot with a 6-0 win at Loftus Road in which Crouch hardly got a sniff at goal against a defence including Tony Adams, Lee Dixon, Lauren and Ashley Cole.
Crouch believes the match had a great impact on his development, as it gave him a “kick up the a***” to want to challenge the best defenders in the country.
He told Paddy Power’sFrom The Horse’s Mouth podcast : “When I first started at QPR when I was 19, I played against the ‘original’ Arsenal back four – Lee Dixon, Tony Adams, Steve Bould and actually Ashley Cole, not Nigel Winterburn.
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“Adams, for me, had everything. He was strong, he read the game, he was good in the air. He just gave me an absolute lesson.
“I was 19 and just thought ‘I’m not ready for this level yet’. He gave me a schooling and it was amazing, really.
“It gave me a kick up the a*** and made me want to work harder.”
Reflecting on a later stage of his career, Crouch named two of England’s finest former centre-backs as the most challenging he came up against.
The former Liverpool star added: “As I got a little bit older, Sol Campbell and John Terry were probably the toughest I’ve faced.”
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