PORTSMOUTH’S Peter Crouch insists he is optimistic about keeping his place in the England starting line-up, following rival Emile Heskey’s return to fitness.<br /><br />Crouch marked his start against Ukraine in April with a goal but faces a battle for selection against Kazakhstan on Saturday now that Heskey, a favourite of head coach Fabio Capello, is back in contention.<br /><br />“It was important for me to get a game, play well and I scored so hopefully I have given the manager something to think about,” said Crouch.<br /><br />“I felt I did well enough in the last game to warrant a start. Emile is back from injury and he was first choice beforehand but hopefully I’ve given the manager some food for thought.”<br /><br />England fly to Kazakhstan tomorrow for the World Cup qualifier in Almaty, and Crouch admits it is a step into the unknown.<br /><br />“I can’t say I have ever been to Kazakhstan on holiday,” he added. “None of the lads have played against teams from there so it’s exciting. I don’t know what the pitch is like, or the conditions.”<br /><br />Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand and Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole both missed training yesterday with minor injuries. However, the move is thought to be a precaution and neither is expected to miss the game against Kazakhstan or the visit of Andorra next week.