The story of "3 meter Peter"....
Gerry Francis (QPR manager 1991-94; Tottenham manager 1994-97; QPR manager 1998-2001. Signed Crouch for Tottenham and QPR)
"He was at QPR when I was there and when I went to Spurs Des Bulpin, my youth coach, came too. So did Peter. When I went back to QPR, by which stage they were in the First Division and short of cash, I decided to try and sign him with a view to the future. Peter was barely getting a game in Spurs' reserves and David Pleat, their then manager, told me he didn't think Peter would make it there, so he was prepared to sell him. I was delighted. I had that feeling that 'I can make this boy a player.' Injury meant we had to play him straight away and he ended up getting 12 goals for us that season.
"Some kids shoot up in their teens but even at 12 Peter was tall and very skinny. He's obviously taken some ribbing over the years. I remember him walking across the pitch when he joined us at Tottenham and people looking at him thinking 'what the hell is that? There's no way he can play, surely?'
"I feel he will be involved with England for some time to come. He may not always start but he offers something different if you're losing or can't break someone down. He will be a dream to play alongside for Michael Owen, it will be like Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips.
Vince Bartram (Gillingham goalkeeper 1998-2004. In goal when Crouch scored his first professional goal, 13 September 2000, for QPR at Loftus Road)
"I remember seeing some pre-season footage of him and thinking 'he's a big lad, a bit out of the ordinary'. He came on with us 2-0n up and cruising. I think he set up their first goal, for Chris Kiwomya, then he scored the second, a very good volley, and we drew 2-2.
"As a keeper playing against team with someone 6' 7", or any good header of the ball, the manager will say 'come for crosses, help your defenders out'. It means you have to be more positive and that can lead to mistakes because you are taking risks."
Scott Hiley (Portsmouth team-mate 2001-2002)
"I'd seen him in a reserve game for Tottenham so I knew what to expect. He doesn't look like a footballer. He's very ungainly, and people assume he can't be any good. But when you get the ball at his feet he's different class. He was a handful in training. He doesn't just stand there. He jumps too. That makes it even worse. We had great joy with him. We had two decent wingers, so he was scoring goals and laying them on.
Graham Taylor (Aston Villa manager 2002-2003. Signed Crouch for £5m)
"Peter Crouch is a very good football player. Everyone talks about his height as if that's all there is to him but I can assure everyone he's very good technically. Look at his touch. Look at his passing. Look at his control, how he lays people in, how he holds off defenders. That's the sort of player we are talking about.
"Peter has always wanted to be thought of as a good footballer. Psychologically, he would say his height hasn't affected him but I think it used to. Now he's learned to handle the criticism and he knows he's a good player.
"People don't realise this, but when you are as tall as Peter, you're not necessarily going to be a good header of the ball because playing as a kid he's never had to jump, he's just towered over everyone. So when you come into the man's game, you haven't got that upper body strength in your spine because you've never used it. He's become a better player because he's learned how to handle his body."
Iwan Roberts (Norwich City team-mate 2003)
"He'd been having a difficult time at Villa when came to us on a three-month loan. I don't think the crowd had taken to him but we were lucky to get him. He and Darren Huckerby signed on the same day and it gave us the impetus we needed in the promotion season
"I remembered him from QPR and Portsmouth. He always had a great touch and he's not been given enough credit for it. People say he's not scored any goals for Liverpool this season but I've seen a lot of their matches and he's been outstanding. If he plays for England he'll give them something different.
"He's such a likable fellow you can't help but like him. There's not an ounce of malice in him and if he has a fault it's that he's too nice. He'll foul some grizzled defender and he'll be saying 'are you all right, mate?' He needs a bit more devilment but maybe that will come."
Graeme Le Saux (Southampton team-mate 2004-05)
"If England use him with Michael Owen there is potential for a good complementary partnership but they must use Peter's strengths.
"Watching Liverpool it's infuriating when they have set-pieces or crossing situations and they whizz the ball in. They just have to float to the far post. He's virtually unstoppable then and it is up to others to react off him."
"He is someone who performs when he feels confident. Southampton under Harry Redknapp was probably his first chance for a while to work for someone who believed in him, who played him every week rather than used him as a squad player.
Sven Goran Eriksson (England manager. Gave Crouch his international debut in May 2005)
"He's different, very different. When you go into a tournament, you should have one big striker. If you put the ball up there, he will win it. His touch is not bad at all and if you are trying to break a team down maybe you could put on Peter Crouch.
Let's hope he has a good world cup and doesnt get injured....