Put yourself in Peter Crouch's shoes and you will most likely look like a clown. You might also begin to wonder whether anything you do will ever be quite good enough. And you will be only human if you do not feel slightly aggravated over the adulation that Roman Pavlyuchenko received.
To the Tottenham Hotspur faithful, Pavlyuchenko is the striker who can do no wrong. The Russian can blaze wastefully over the crossbar when one on one with the goalkeeper and he can drag a penalty wide, as he did on Saturday in three first-half minutes, and he will still be saluted in song as "Super Pav".
Pavlyuchenko has prodigious ability – consider his goal at Bolton the previous Saturday – and there is little that the White Hart Lane crowd likes more, even if it can fire in fits and starts and drive a manager to distraction. Harry Redknapp threw himself back into his seat when Pavlyuchenko missed the penalty, which the player had been forced to wait to take.
Crouch, on the other hand, works tirelessly and unselfishly, holding up the ball, occupying defenders and creating space for his team-mates. He is no slouch with the ball at his feet either and there was a wonderful moment against Blackburn when he juggled the ball over his shoulder, one way and then the other. But the crowd do not purr; they do not sing his name. Although Redknapp loves him, Crouch seems to be fighting a battle to convince the supporters.
Both Crouch and Pavlyuchenko got on to the scoresheet in what was an entertaining match but the media's reaction to the former's goal threatened to grate. It was Crouch's first in the Premier League since he scored one of moderate importance at Manchester City last May. Was the monkey off his back?
Crouch might have wanted to scream that he had scored against Internazionale two weeks ago, that he had five in the Champions League and six assists in the Premier League. The 29-year-old, though, pointed to the statistics with trademark humility and the only time that he hinted at annoyance was when he remarked, pointedly, that "People like to talk about things like that, don't they?"
"I have been pleased with my performances and the manager would not play me if he did not think that I was having an impact," Crouch said. "Just because you have not scored in the league I still felt that I have been contributing to the assists, although as a striker you are judged on goals."
Crouch picked a good time to score, as the England assistant manager, Franco Baldini, was in the crowd. England face France at Wembley on Wednesday and Crouch, who has scored 21 goals in 41 internationals, hopes to withstand competition from Newcastle's Andy Carroll and Kevin Davies of Bolton to secure his place in the starting line-up.
The Blackburn manager, Sam Allardyce, also found himself drawn on the subject of strikers. He could not conceal his irritation at Nikola Kalinic over a 39th-minute miss and he replaced him with Jason Roberts, a player who had wanted a move in the summer and now seems driven by anger.
"He is playing great so we will keep him as angry as we can," Allardyce said. "I wouldn't say we like each other that much but we are getting on OK. He has forced himself into almost being the No1 selection."
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