Benitez backs Crouch claims
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Rafa Benitez says Peter Crouch is a must for England's World Cup squad.
Rafa Benitez believes Peter Crouch is a must for Sven Goran Eriksson's World Cup squad this summer.
Crouch netted his first England goal on Wednesday on his home ground as The Three Lions came from a goal down to beat Uruguay 2-1 at Anfield.
The lanky marksman also came off the bench to good effect against Argentina in England's last game in Geneva, and his club manager believes he is a great addition to the national squad.
Benitez says that Crouch must be on the plane to Germany as he has the ability to change a game coming off the bench.
"He's a striker and strikers like to score goals - he scored a good goal for England and that will be good for him and I hope it is good for us also," said Benitez.
"I think he is a different type of player, I have said clearly that he can change games and in my opinion he should always be in the squad. He is a player that can give you something different, as we saw the other day.
"He changes games. That is the reason for me that he is a key player for us, and for England too. It is very difficult for a defender to play against someone who is so tall.
"When defenders see him coming off the bench, they are really worried. How do they handle him? If you hit long balls to him it is a problem, and if you get to the bye-line and cross for him, that is a problem also for defenders.
"He makes it very difficult in the air. But on the ground he also knows what to do. In the last 15 minutes for England the defenders were worried about how difficult he is to control. But he still scored."
Benitez has long been pressing Jamie Carragher's England credentials, and he got an extended run at left back on Wednesday due to Wayne Bridge's injury.
"Jamie can play in four different positions in the side, and in all of them you know he will play well," said Benitez.
"He has the experience you need, he will not have a problem and will go to the World Cup."
With Bridge and Ashley Cole both struggling with injuries, Benitez even said that young left back Stephen Warnock could deserve an England call.
Eriksson included Warnock in his squads earlier in the season, and Benitez believes he could be worth another go with England's injury problems in that position mounting.
"Warnock is surely a possibility at left back," added the Spaniard. "He has improved a lot and has had plenty of experience now at the top level."