Plymouth coach: Liverpool's Crouch always had quality

Plymouth Argyle first-team coach Des Bulpin has always been confident Liverpool striker Peter Crouch would make it as an England international.

Bulpin was on Gerry Francis's coaching staff at Tottenham in the mid-90s and Crouch was struggling as a first-year YTS trainee, all finesse and no brawn, when Bulpin insisted that he saw the future. He told Crouch that one day he would play up front for England.

ord=Math.random()*10000000000000000;document.write('');
"When we first got Peter at QPR, he was outstanding on the floor, he had a brain and technique but he just couldn't run," Bulpin told the Guardian. "But I knew that once Peter got strength, he would be good in the air and become a player. People make mistakes on kids by letting them go before they develop physically. At 17, the weak boy can become just as strong as the others."

Bulpin recalls the taunts that Crouch endured. The other boys would call him "Stick" and Crouch, introverted and conscious of his height, would hunch himself over in an attempt to blend in. Having taken him to Tottenham, the efforts to bulk him up began in earnest.

"I gave him a load of milk, yoghurt, porridge, currants and raisins, told him to put it all in a blender and drink it wherever he went," smiled Bulpin. "I don't think he liked it. Then, there was the weights programme we put him on."

Have your say