Ask Crouchie! Peter Crouch is back to answer YOUR questions…

Ask Crouchie! Peter Crouch is back to answer YOUR questions… on what’s going wrong at Liverpool, how Wayne Rooney is built for management, and why Leicester CAN win the title again!

  • Wayne Rooney has been dealing with pressure his whole career, he’s ready  
  • I lived for celebrating goals but James Maddison is right, we must be flexible 
  • I like Sam Allardyce and I think West Brom have given themselves a good chance
  • Roberto Firmino’s wastefulness is worrying, Liverpool’s balance is all wrong

There were no fireworks at Anfield for Peter Crouch to discuss on his return but there are plenty of issues elsewhere. 

This week’s mailbag sees a focus on the Midlands, from a legend beginning a new chapter to whether Sam Allardyce can pull off his greatest escape.

And there’s plenty more to discuss, from legendary club shirts to hugging team-mates and Robert Firmino’s poor form in front of goal. 

Peter Crouch answers more of your questions as part of a weekly series here for Sportsmail; this week Wayne Rooney’s move into management at Derby County is a hot topic for debate

Liverpool’s frustrating form, as expressed here by Sadio Mane, are also on the agenda

He always wanted to go into management, Craig. When we were away with England, he always used to talk about it and he hasn’t fallen into this position. 

Some people, such as Scott Parker, were more naturally suited to stepping away from playing, given the type of character they had.

By that I mean Wayne has always enjoyed a laugh and a joke and always made the dressing room brighter. He was one of the lads, someone who didn’t take himself too seriously.

But do not think that he does not possess the right attributes to make a success in this field.

Look at his outstanding credentials: England’s record goalscorer, Manchester United’s record goalscorer, every club trophy you could want to win and 18 years playing at the very highest level. He has been dealing with pressure all his life, so he is not going to find the scrutiny hard to deal with.

If I was him, I would have been looking at having a year off to readjust and calm down, but fair play — his commitment is impossible to fault.

It was always that way at England camps. He’d be the last one off the training pitch with Frank Lampard. Good luck to him. I hope he has every success.

Manchester United’s record goalscorer used to talk about becoming a boss at England camps

Is Big Sam going to pull off another great escape with West Bromwich Albion?

Scotty Boy via Twitter

It would certainly be his biggest achievement, Scotty. I didn’t give West Brom much chance of staying up at the beginning of the season — as much as I have a lot of time for Slaven Bilic – but the result on Saturday at Molineux has opened things up.

And it wasn’t just ‘a result’ – it wasn’t a smash-and-grab raid. West Brom played superbly and a win of that nature has brought the pack at the bottom back together. They have given themselves a real chance of defying the odds and surviving.

I like Sam Allardyce. I never got the opportunity to play for him but I think he is a manager with whom I would have had good times.

West Brom bagged a massive victory over struggling Wolves, boosting their relegation fight

I think me and Big Sam Allardyce would have gotten along, he gets responses out of his players

Players respond to his methods and his record of not being relegated is remarkable, really, given some of the situations he has been in.

Preserving that sequence will be difficult, of course, but there is enough time to do it. I know we are approaching the end of January but this is not a normal year.

They still have 20 games to go and he will definitely fancy his chances if West Brom sign the players he wants.

Could you stop yourself hugging a team-mate if you scored a really big goal?

Tom Nicholson via email

No, Tom. It might not be a popular answer with some people but if it was the last couple of minutes of a significant match and I was in the right place to apply the finish, that would be it. 

I lived for scoring goals and the rush that goes through you when it happens is impossible to articulate.

I’m not blinkered enough, though, to say football should be ignoring the latest protocols. This is a period in which we have to adapt and do things differently. For that reason, I found it fascinating listening to James Maddison on Saturday night, after Leicester had beaten Southampton.

James Maddison got creative with his goal celebration after scoring against Southampton 

Yes, there was something contradictory about Maddison being wrestled by Jack Stephens and being in such close proximity with another player, then not being able to celebrate with his team-mates, all of whom had tested negative before the game.

But Maddison explained it is time to be creative and have a bit of fun and I enjoyed his celebration, where he shooed his colleagues away. 

This is not football as we know it, at the moment, and we have to be flexible.

Leicester are flying… can they do it again?

Dave Edwards via Twitter

What a seamless link, Dave — from Maddison to Leicester as title challengers. You know what? They CAN do it. 

Having watched what was an underwhelming clash between Liverpool and Manchester United, if we are talking them up as champions, then why not Leicester?

I really like what Brendan Rodgers is doing there. I love Jamie Vardy, Youri Tielemans is a proper midfielder, they have a good goalkeeper in Kasper Schmeichel, they defend well and Jonny Evans organises things superbly. 

Leicester moved themselves into a title challenge with their Saints win, and could do it again! 

If I list it like that, they tick a lot of boxes, don’t they?

They will be viewed as the outsiders by everyone and, perhaps, there will be a few people who don’t take them seriously, but I would say it’s very dangerous to underestimate them.

If their home form improves, they will be right there.

What sort of things do managers scribble down frantically during games?

Barry Quelch via email

I wish I could enlighten you, Barry, but I wouldn’t have a clue! 

I know a lot of managers write down points so they can say things at half-time in terms of making tactical switches — or highlighting someone’s shortcomings — but I never saw Harry Redknapp do it too much!

Do you think that players are no longer bothered about certain legendary club shirt numbers to be included in transfer deals?

Eric Cantona was one of the stars who made Manchester United’s No 7 shirt legendary

John Toole via email

The landscape is changing, isn’t it, John? We have so many different nationalities in our game at the moment that it is inevitable some younger lads will not appreciate the significance of the numbers.

You said in your email to me about Alan Shearer wearing No 9 for your team, Newcastle, and the lure of that jersey. For people who love football, the heritage will never disappear and we will always recognise how important certain shirts are.

No 7 is huge for Liverpool and Manchester United, No 9 is the big one at Newcastle and Everton. Think of all the places where No 10 means everything. These are beautiful pieces of history and I hope they will always stay that way.

What’s happened to Wolves? They should be challenging for European places, not looking over their shoulder!

Jack Turnbull via email

Oh, Jack. It’s worrying. I am a huge fan of Wolves, I’ve followed them closely since they played Stoke off the park in a friendly in the summer of 2018. They had just won the Championship and were coming into the Premier League full of aggression and ambition.

You cannot underestimate what a blow losing Raul Jimenez has been — they were sixth the night he was injured at Arsenal in November — but the more I look at it, the more it seems to me that something isn’t right with the manager and the players.

Something seems to be weighing heavily on Nuno Espirito Santo’s shoulders and the team are not responding as they used to. Switching from a back three to a back four also struck me as being unusual.

I hope it’s something that gets rectified soon.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves are faltering badly and they need to quickly re-find their form

Why have Liverpool stopped scoring?

Kath K 123 via Twitter

The balance of the team is wrong at the moment, Kath. They have lost the energy of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho in midfield and that has stopped Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson attacking as freely as they did in the last two seasons.

It was a hard watch on Sunday but what alarmed me was how wasteful Roberto Firmino was in front of goal. I thought he was back in the groove when he sparkled at Crystal Palace last month, but it is just not happening for him — or his team.

Until next time, stay safe and well.

Jurgen Klopp must address the lack of balance in his stuttering Liverpool team right now

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