LONDON COLNEY, Nov 11 – England forward Peter Crouch has vowed to avoid any more nightclub high jinx as he tries to keep his World Cup dream alive.
Crouch was photographed on a wild evening out with Tottenham team-mate Jonathan Woodgate and model girlfriend Abbey Clancy at London’s trendy Movida bar after his club’s Premier League win over Portsmouth last month.
The former Liverpool striker was snapped on the dance floor reviving the ‘robot’ goal celebration which made him a cult hero with England fans and sticking his head out of a taxi as he was driven home from the club.
Those kind of antics will hardly sit well with notoriously strict England coach Fabio Capello, who has been known to punish players for being late for dinner, let alone letting their hair down in such spectacular fashion.
Crouch revealed that Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp reacted to the incident with a typically brusque put-down, but Capello is less likely to take such an understanding attitude, especially if there are any repeats before next year’s finals in South Africa.
With competition for places in Capello’s squad hotting up now the qualifying campaign is over, Crouch knows he must keep out of trouble.
"Yes, of course I think about how Capello will react. He’s not said anything to me. Harry said ‘You’re an idiot, move on.’ Quite straight forward," said Crouch before flying off to Doha with the England squad for Saturday’s friendly against Brazil.
"It was eight days before the next game. I’ve not covered myself in glory, but I haven’t killed anyone, although I feel like I have.
"I’m human at the end of the day but it won’t happen again. We were going out with all the lads, as a team. It probably escalated a bit more than I would have planned.
"After a game you want to relax and unwind. If you don’t have a game until the following weekend, you can go out and relax. It can’t be football, football, football.
"Nothing like that would happen if there was a midweek game. Being a World Cup year, we want to concentrate on football matters. We want to be as focused as we possibly can."
Although Crouch has scored an impressive 16 goals in 17 starts for England, he has spent most of Capello’s reign on the bench because the Italian opted to pick Emile Heskey alongside Wayne Rooney.
Heskey will miss the trip to Qatar through injury however, giving Crouch another chance to impress Capello after scoring twice in the 3-0 win over Belarus that finished off England’s qualifying campaign.
The 28-year-old admits he has yet to receive a compliment from Capello but he remains confident he can do a job for England whenever called upon.
"I don’t believe I’ve had a compliment no. Collectively, he doesn’t like to single out players. But he has done well to the group after we’ve won games," Crouch said.
"He’s had little words with me, here or there, on the training pitch. I’ve not knocked on his door. As long as I’m playing well and scoring goals, I’ll be considered. I was given an opportunity against Belarus, scored a couple of goals, and hopefully that’s pushed my case.
"I’m obviously very proud of the goals I’ve scored for England and my record. I don’t think ‘what more can I do’. I just want to continue, really. I always feel confident I will get chances and, when I’m given those chances, I’ll take them."
Crouch’s desire to please Capello doesn’t extend to completely agreeing with the manager’s views on diving.
Capello recently admitted he would be unhappy if one of his players won a penalty through deception, but Crouch claimed the nation would have no problem if an England player copied Liverpool striker David Ngog’s theatrical tumble that earned a spot-kick against Birmingham on Monday.
"He wouldn’t be happy if players dived. I’ve taken that on board," Crouch said.
"It happens so quick, doesn’t it. It’s difficult. If the tackle comes in and he stays on his feet, doesn’t get anything and the team lose – it’s a difficult balance.
"I’m not saying you should cheat. But it’s the difference between winning or losing a game. In a World Cup, if someone took a dive and we went through, would the nation be slaughtering him?"