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Peter Crouch: My Spurs winner at Man City is the best feeling I’ve had in football

Crouch’s career has spanned 12 clubs and also includes a formidable scoring record for England, with 22 goals in his 42 caps.

There is one moment, though, that he enjoyed more than any other – and it wasn't for the Three Lions. 

As Tottenham and Manchester City were battling for a Champions League spot at the end of the 2009/10 season, Spurs travelled to Manchester knowing that victory would ensure a qualification place for the first time. Crouch’s 82nd-minute header proved to be the only goal of the game, sparking wild celebrations among players, fans and coaching staff.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen an away end erupt like that one did

It certainly wasn't his best goal (see Stoke vs Man City, 2012), but it was the one Crouch appreciated most in its importance.

“It had been a long time since Spurs had played in the European Cup, and that was the goal that got us back there," said Crouch speaking exclusively in the January 2018 issue of FourFourTwo. "We’d had a brilliant season and deserved to get there as well.

“It was a great performance and, if I was being honest, that moment – scoring the goal and running behind to celebrate – was probably the best feeling I’ve ever had on a football pitch, seeing all the players celebrating and the fans’ faces.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen an away end erupt like that one did, and knowing my goal had done it was a really special feeling.”

With that goal giving Spurs a crack at Champions League football, the Lilywhites qualified for the group stages, then topped Group A ahead of Inter Milan, whose defence was given a torrid time by a young Gareth Bale.

This set up a last-16 tie with Crouch’s former nemeses from his Liverpool days, Milan.

The striker got the better of the Italians this time, tucking in the only goal over two legs after Aaron Lennon’s blistering run. Did he worry he had gone too close to the post, though?

To go to the San Siro and win with the team they had – Nesta, Gattuso, Ibrahimovic, great players – was a real achievement

“No, I knew exactly what I was doing! To be honest, Aaron Lennon had put it on a plate for me.

“He beat two men and cut it back brilliantly. I knew the keeper was out of position, so I thought I’d just get it as close to the bottom corner as I could.

“It went a little too close to the post for my heart, maybe, but it was a great feeling to see it creep in. To go to the San Siro and win with the team they had – Nesta, Gattuso, Ibrahimovic, great players – was a real achievement.”

Story words: Joshua Jones

We want you to know that we’ve launched a free young fans’ magazine, GOAL! It’s currently at the pilot stage, and comes with this issue, so we'd love to hear your thoughts: what do you like, what don’t you like and how often would you like to get a copy? The more we know, the better it will be

Read the full interview with Peter Crouch in the January 2018 issue of FourFourTwo – an awards special celebrating the achievements of Harry Kane, Neymar, the Cowley brothers, Luka Modric, Juan Mata, Lieke Martens, Ostersund, Emma Hayes and England’s youth teams. Plus, we recall 26 of the maddest managerial sackings of all time and enter the weird world of host families – providing a home from home for starlets in need of a place to stay. Order a copy today here, and then become a subscriber!

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Alex Reid is a freelance journalist and the former digital features editor at FourFourTwo. He has also written for the Guardian, talkSPORT, Boxing News and Sport magazine. Like most Londoners, he is a lifelong supporter of Aberdeen FC. He is deceptively bad in the air for a big man. He has never been a cage fighter.