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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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Crouch: I'll behave to get to World Cup

England striker Peter Crouch wants to avoid any further off the pitch scandal for the rest of the season to give himself the best chance of making Fabio Capello's squad for the World Cup.

Crouch was pictured in a nightclub celebrating Tottenham's win over Portsmouth in October, causing Spurs boss Harry Redknapp to bring him into line. Capello has not spoken to Crouch about the incident but the Italian is known as a disciplinarian so Crouch will not be taking any more chances.

"It won't happen again,'' Crouch said. "He (Capello) has not said anything to me. Harry said 'you're an idiot, move on'. Quite straight forward. I've not covered myself in glory, but I haven't killed anyone. In a World Cup year, though, we want to be as focused as we possibly can. We're all human at the end of the day, but it's difficult keeping your head down at 6ft 7in.''

Crouch compared Capello's withdrawn man-management style to that of his former manager at Liverpool, Rafael Benitez, but said he would much prefer Redknapp's open approach to that of either of the two Champions League-winning managers.

"Harry wears his heart on his sleeve and will tell you if you're playing crap,'' Crouch said. "Benitez isn't like that and might not rip into you as much, or pat you on the back. Benitez is the type of manager, similar to the England manager perhaps. You do have to work hard to get a 'well done'.

"That's the way Rafa plays it, and he's done exceptionally well. I'd rather have Harry's approach. It's easier to deal with someone like Harry because he's so open. I can go and talk to him and he can explain why I'm left out and if I'm playing well. Rafa keeps his cards to his chest.''

On the pitch for England, Crouch has an amazing record of 16 goals from 17 starts, and he is looking for another chance to cement himself in Capello's plans for South Africa during the friendly against Brazil on Saturday.

"If you can score and win against Brazil the manager will believe you can do it in a big tournament,'' he said. "Brazil are one of the top five teams in the world so to put in a good performance will be fantastic for your aspirations of making the side for the World Cup.''

How Benitez could do with a spare England international striker now. Selling Crouch at the start of last season has been one of the criticisms levelled at Benitez, who has left himself with just Fernando Torres as a striker with proven Premier League quality, contributing to their run of poor results.

Crouch would probably get regular games for Liverpool at the moment - and even more frustrating for fans at Anfield is the fact their former player still feels a great affinity with the club.

"I found it difficult to score in the first part of my time there and the fans were fantastic to me,'' he said. "I went on to score a good amount of goals and had the best years of my career. I'd love to see them win the league.

"I do look at it and they are slightly short up front. They still have good players to come in when Torres is injured. I've moved on. I do keep an eye on their results. I loved playing for that club, but I love playing for Tottenham.''

Liverpool's David Ngog has been criticised for diving to earn his side a point this week, with Crouch offering a diplomatic view to the argument.

He said: "I'm not saying you should cheat. But it's the difference between winning or losing a game. In a World Cup, if someone took a dive and we went through, would the nation be slaughtering him? No-one wants to see diving. No-one wants to see players cheat to win games, but who's saying he cheated. He might have been trying to jump over the tackle. Only he knows that.''

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