Crouch ready to fight his way back into England side for Brazil 2014
Peter Crouch has spoken for the first time about his disappointment at being overlooked for Euro 2012 by Roy Hodgson, insisting he still wants to end his international exile from England.
Crouch was omitted from Hodgson's squad after the coach opted to take Andy Carroll to Poland and Ukraine, even though the Stoke forward scored six more league goals than the Liverpool man. The 31-year-old has admitted he was "gutted" to receive the grim news and it is understood he turned down the invitation of going on the standby list.
Crouch's record of 22 goals in 42 international games also failed to cut any ice with Hodgson's predecessor, Fabio Capello, and he has not played for England since the friendly against France in November 2010, when he scored in a 2-1 defeat.
But Crouch's misfortune has only served to fire him up for the forthcoming campaign and increase his determination to become a part of Hodgson's new era. He will be 33 by the time of the next World Cup but he said: "To play for your country in major tournaments is the pinnacle and I was desperate to play in another Euros so I was gutted to miss out.
"My goalscoring record stands up against anybody else and that made it even more frustrating. It's a record I'm very proud of and whenever I've been selected for England I feel like I've done well.
"The manager rang me the day before the squad was announced and said it was a toss-up between me and Andy Carroll and obviously he went with Carroll.
"He was looking for one target man and out of the two of us he went with Andy. It was one of those things and I've got to focus now on the next World Cup.
"It was documented that Capello never came to the Britannia Stadium so it's difficult to pick players who you haven't seen play.
"Yes, I was gutted but you've just got to move on. It was the manager's decision and I have to take it on my chin and move on. I've had a nice break and I'm ready for the Premier League."
While it may have been painful for Crouch to watch England's campaign on TV, he admits Hodgson deserved credit for leading his side into the last eight.
"I thought England did well. Nobody was expecting anything going into the tournament because we didn't have a manager until a couple of weeks before," he said.
Unlike Carroll, at least Crouch will not have the turbulence of the transfer window to worry about this summer. His £10m move from Tottenham last year was sealed late on a whirlwind final day. "The manager here believes in me and that's really important," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)