Pulis: Crouch has England class
The former Tottenham frontman has enjoyed an impressive start to his Potters career, scoring the equaliser to earn a draw with Manchester United and netting in the win against Turkish giants Besiktas in the Europa League. The 30-year-old was quoted this week as saying he felt his days as an international player were over, having not featured for England in 11 months. But England boss Fabio Capello has to find an alternative for Wayne Rooney, who is suspended for the start of Euro 2012 following his red card in Montenegro, with the Italian hinting he will not start any of England's friendlies ahead of the tournament. And Pulis thinks Crouch, who has scored 22 goals in 42 games for his country, should not be written off just yet. "I think Peter's record in Europe is fantastic," Pulis said. "He needs to do well for us, he needs to score goals. "We need to do well for him as well and I think if we do that, if we both marry that together, Peter's still got a great chance [of playing for England again]. "I wouldn't give up yet if I was Peter." Crouch's first task is to help the Potters claim a first league win since September 10 when Fulham visit the Britannia Stadium on Saturday on the back of a 6-0 thrashing of west London neighbours QPR. Pulis, though, believes that statistic gives a false impression of the club's start to the season, which has seen them lose just twice, at Sunderland and Swansea, in 15 games in all competitions "Yeah, it's dreadful," Pulis joked when asked about his side's form. "[Unbeaten against] Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United, a dreadful start. "We're disappointed that the two games we've lost have been really down to mistakes more than anything else, but the standard that we've set and the standard of football that we've played, especially at the Britannia, has been absolutely fantastic and I think everybody's enjoyed it." The Potters will hope to have Matthew Etherington back for the visit of Fulham after the winger had a sugar injection in his back in a bid to cure a hamstring injury. The 30-year-old has struggled to hit top form since suffering a hamstring tear in last season's FA Cup semi-final victory over Bolton at Wembley. But Pulis believes it is only a matter of time before he is back to his best. "I used to have sugar in my tea and my coffee and now they're sticking it in people's backs and legs and everything else so the world's changed. But I don't mind as long as it works and gets them on the pitch," he said. "I think Matty's the type of player who goes up and down in his form anyway. We're desperate to get him back to the fitness level that he was at and back playing as well as he did last year. I don't think he's at that level yet but give him time." Pulis also warned against the dangers of adopting Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre's proposal that top Premier League clubs should be allowed to negotiate their own overseas TV rights, instead of the money being split equally among all 20 clubs as is currently the case. The Stoke boss pointed to Spain's Primera Division, where top sides Real Madrid and Barcelona do negotiate their own TV deals, as an example not to follow. He said: "What's happened in Spain is that the two clubs have gone so far ahead and so far away from everybody else that their league isn't competitive any more. We've got to guard against that. "I think the majority of football clubs in England, the majority of football clubs in the Premier League, would vote against it because of that reason. "There might be one or two people who think that it's right for them, but as the big picture I think it's a poor thing and a poor way of thinking as well."