Crouch deserves starting berth, says ‘66 hero Hurst

SIR GEOFF HURST believes Tottenham’s Peter Crouch has earned the right to partner Wayne Rooney at this summer’s World Cup.

Crouch scored twice in England’s 3-1 win over Egypt last Wednesday, taking his tally to 20 goals in 37 games.

And Hurst, who famously scored a hat-trick for England in their 1966 World Cup success over Germany, says the beanpole striker has got the edge on his rivals to win a starting spot under boss Fabio Capello.

“He [Crouch] is emerging as the best partner because he can do what Emile Heskey does but very importantly he scores a lot more goals than Emile has done for England,” said Hurst, who scored 24 goals in 49 games for his country. “You need as a front player to score one in two over your career and Peter’s England record now is getting very close to mine. He’ll be pushing me down the
‘Goals for England’ league table.”

But despite notching nine wins from ten qualifying matches, Hurst doesn’t believe Capello’s England have the firepower required to repeat the feat of 44 years ago.

“If somebody said to me where do you think we will get to I would say the semi-finals because I think we are a tiny bit short up front,” he added.

“If maybe we had a [Fernando] Torres up front along with Rooney then you’re looking at a different proposition.”