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Sunday 17
February

Burnley

Crouch hailed by Clarets boss

8th February 2019, 08:32 by Nick Harris

Sean Dyche believes Peter Crouch still has a desire to do well and has not ruled out the striker staying at Burnley beyond the summer.

The 38-year-old, who joined the Clarets from Stoke on a permanent contract until the end of the campaign on the final day of the January transfer window, made an immediate impact on debut last weekend.

Introduced from the bench for the final quarter of an hour against Southampton, the former England target man helped to earn a last-gasp penalty, which Ashley Barnes converted to seal a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor.

The 6ft 7in Crouch has given no indication that retirement is looming and Dyche has hailed the resolve of his latest acquisition.

The Burnley manager said: "If you've got the fire in your stomach to go and play, and play in the right manner to be successful, that's one of the key things as players get older.

"You can't cheat the system, there comes a time for every player, but Crouchy's got a lot to offer.

"Some players are ready for (retirement), I was ready and when I knew I was ready, that was me. He's not, I don't think. I think he's got that edge to him.

"He's thinking 'I love being out there, I want to play, I want to train, I want to be around the group'. I think that's a healthy situation to be in, and the rest, we'll see.

"I'm certainly not ageist in football. If they've got something to offer and there's fire and desire to do it, then we'd certainly take them seriously. That will all be at a later date, he knows that.

"There are no agreements, there's no chatter about that, he just wanted to come here and be effective in the Premier League. That was his starting point and that's what we'll continue to build on."

Former centre-half Dyche knows from bitter experience the unique challenges Crouch presents, having been tasked with keeping the then 21-year-old Portsmouth forward quiet on Millwall's visit to Fratton Park in March 2002.

While Crouch did not get on the scoresheet, it was a forgettable day for Dyche and Millwall as Pompey claimed a 3-0 victory.

Dyche added: "I think amongst his many talents is that awkwardness he brings because, having played against him all those years ago, he is completely different and we all know that.

"It can de-focus a defensive line, it can make them do things differently. The biggest weapon he's got is that everyone thinks that it's because he's big - and that's a given - but if you don't go tight on him and don't deal with the header, he brings it down and plays.

"That simple thing is a magic thing to have as a player.

"The biggest one to have alongside that is he's never had pace, he's never worried about pace. It's his game and his understanding, his fire and desire to do it, that's key."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Nick Harris is a long-standing journalist who specialises in football and rugby league. An avid golfer, Nick also follows the major boxing fights closely.

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