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Crouch eager for England recall

Stoke City striker Peter Crouch has cleared up confusion over his gloomy England prospects by revealing that he rejected the call to play in an international friendly at the end of last season.

• Hodgson casts doubt on Crouch

Crouch has scored in Stoke's last three games and has been touted as a strong contender for a recall to the England squad for the World Cup qualification campaign.

However, England boss Roy Hodgson said during the recent get-together for the games against Moldova and Ukraine that a return was not imminent because Crouch had spurned the opportunity to go on stand-by for the finals of Euro 2012.

Now the player himself has shed further light on a possible rift between the two.

"I was disappointed to be left out of the Euros squad and to not have the opportunity to go," he said. "I was a bit frustrated because playing for my country is the best thing I have done in my career.

"He (Hodgson) wanted me to play in one of the friendlies and then go home. I was bitterly disappointed, understandably so, but I think the conversation between us should remain private.

"The manager was obviously asked the question recently and I have no grumbles about that. If I get the chance to play for my country again and I get a proper call back, I will be there. I will grab it with both hands."

Crouch, who admits luck was on his side when his early goal against Manchester City on Saturday was allowed to stand despite appeals for handball, believes Ryan Shawcross is pushing hard for an England debut.

The central defender and Stoke captain produced a heroic goal-line clearance to deny Edin Dzeko at the weekend, having told Chris Coleman recently that he was not interested in playing for Wales.

"Ryan wouldn't let anyone down if he played for England," he added. "He deserves credit as well."

Although Stoke face a trip to Chelsea next weekend, Crouch believes the wait for a first Premier League victory will not drag on much longer.

The side have had four draws out of four in the league and sit in the middle of the table, but with the arrival of the likes of Michael Owen - who was given a hero's welcome on Saturday - plus Charlie Adam and Steven N'Zonzi, it is hoped a first victory will arrive before long.

"We have some top, top players and a bunch of players which will enable us to really push on," Crouch said. "No-one told me any lies when I came here... they said it was a club pushing on and I know Michael spoke to Jonathan Woodgate before he joined us.

"We were always confident he would come and we're sure he has a big part to play here. He's right up there with some of the best players the Premier League has ever had.

"Hopefully we can get him firing because the fans have really taken to him. They will do even more when he is scoring goals. Everyone can see this is a club moving forward."


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