Stoke's Peter Crouch breaks Premier Lge record for substitute appearances
Peter Crouch made a record 143rd Premier League appearance as a substitute when he came on in Stoke's 2-2 draw against Brighton on Monday night.
Crouch's 73rd-minute introduction took him past ex-Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi's tally, set between 2000 and 2015.
And Crouch has been effective in the role, averaging a goal every 162 minutes compared to every 271 minutes as a starter.
The former England striker, now 36, has shifted towards an impact substitute role in recent years -- eight of his 18 league goals over the last four seasons have come after stepping off the bench.
This season he is yet to start a game, making nine substitute appearances and scoring three goals in 170 minutes. That already equals his previous best tally, set in 16 substitute appearances in the 2014-15 season.
In all, nearly a third (32.6) of Crouch's Premier League appearances in his career have come as a substitute.
That accounts for around nine percent of his playing time but more than 14 percent of his goals -- 15 out of 107.
He has almost matched noted super-sub Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's tally of goals from the bench -- the Norwegian managed 17 for Manchester United, including four in one memorable appearance after coming on against Nottingham Forest in February 1999.
Solskjaer is alongside former Arsenal and Portsmouth man Kanu on 17 but the top-scoring substitute in Premier League history is another active player -- Jermain Defoe, with an impressive 23 goals.
The Bournemouth striker has added four substitute appearances to his tally this season and is just eight behind Crouch's record on that front. His only goal this term came as a starter, though, against Brighton in September.
Should I be proud ? 🙈 https://t.co/1w9rIK6P1L— Peter Crouch (@petercrouch) November 20, 2017
Former Liverpool striker David Fairclough -- the original super sub -- earned his tag for his exploits off the bench. And he believes the demands of the modern game make it much easier to be a squad player with "special teams" capabilities rather than feeling like a "spare part" as he sometimes did.
"In the old days the plan of the game was always about the XI -- the 12th man was like the spare wheel in your car: you're not bothered about it until you need it,'' Fairclough told Press Association Sport.
"You weren't part of the conversations and it was very difficult but the role has evolved.
"It's not an 11-man game any more so it's much easier to be a substitute.
"The fact you have played 100 games as a substitute is not detrimental to your ability, people don't see you as being any less than the others.
"It is like special teams in American football; for different situations you bring the special team on.
"And the rewards in football are so good you are encouraged to think 'I might stay for a couple more seasons and sit on the bench because there are so many competitions I might get the odd game'.
"For us when we got to 35 you're thinking 'I have to get out of the game because I need to do something else', because you were not in a position to do anything.''