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Crouch down to him

Adam Philpott asks why Peter Crouch is not a celebrated treasure as the Stoke City striker reaches his century of Premier League goals

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Peter Crouch became the oldest player to reach 100 Premier League goals - a milestone reached by only 25 others - after a simple tap-in against Everton on the first of February.

After almost 15 years since his first Premier League goal, his 100th was certainly not his finest.

But he celebrated the feat in style, nostalgically rebooting his infamous robot dance for one last outing; performed in a somewhat stiffer manner than he had first done so in 2006.

Incidentally, Crouch (sadly) announced the retirement of the robot from the pitch in his post-match interview: "weddings and parties only now," after admitting on Twitter that "the robot was a bit rusty."

It may have taken him 419 games, but Crouch becomes a Premier League centurion in fewer games than compatriots Paul Scholes and Steven Gerrard.

The 36-year-old has had a tumultuous career, from non-league football to a Champions League final. His recent experience has been no different: he was frozen out of the Stoke City side last season, but has scored in 4 of his last 7 Premier League games to yet again prove critics wrong. It is to his credit, and any fans' delight, that he has remained down-to-earth and light-hearted even in times of self-doubt.

Looking back on his 100 goals, Crouch rightly points to his spectacular 25-yard dipping volley against Manchester City - duly rewarded goal of the month back in March 2012 - as the best of the lot. However, his bicycle-kick against Galatasaray whilst at Liverpool cannot be forgotten.

Stoke City manager, Mark Hughes, heaped plaudits on his reinvigorated striker: "Everybody talks about his personality and his character but above all he's an exceptional football player," said Hughes; whilst Crouch is "really pleased" to be amongst household names.

In comparison to those he joins in the Premier League 100 club (Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, to name a few), the veteran striker is by no means the biggest name; however, his achievement brings into question whether he has hitherto been underrated.

So often mocked for his size, and so often dubbed as substandard - is it time we celebrated his unique talent?

With more Premier League assists than Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Scholes; more Premier League goals than Fernando Torres and Dennis Bergkamp; and with more goals for England than Kevin Keegan, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham - Crouch is very much an unsung hero.

Time and time again he has shown his remarkable ability to tower above defenders and score goals. Indeed, 48 of his 100 have been scored in this manner, and he remains the top scorer in terms of headed goals. At 201cm tall it comes as no surprise.

Moreover, he is very much a traditional striker in that 95 of his ton have been scored from inside the box, highlighting his deadly poaching nature.

As such, whilst he may not possess the mercurialness of Eden Hazard, the break-neck speed of Marcus Rashford, the elegance of David Silva, or the craft and graft of N'Golo Kante; he uses his height to devastating effect.

With a career total of 699 games and 216 goals, as well as the ratio of a goal for his country every 99 minutes, Peter Crouch really is an unsung hero.

Forget Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Manuel Neuer - give Crouch the Ballon d'Or 2017. Or maybe not. But at the very least, his place in Premier League history is very much deserved.

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