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Hughton talks up Crouch's quality ahead of Brighton's game with Burnley

Crouch was coached by Hughton at Tottenham.
By Ed Elliot, | 8d

Brighton boss Chris Hughton believes Peter Crouch is "a brilliant ambassador" for English football as he prepares to be reunited with the veteran striker.

Former England international Crouch progressed to the professional game under the guidance of Hughton when the pair worked together at Tottenham in the mid-to-late 1990s.

The much-travelled 38-year-old looked to have bid farewell to his lengthy stay in the Premier League when he was relegated with Stoke last season.

But a deadline-day transfer to Burnley marked a fresh chapter in his career and he will be keen to prove his worth in the top flight when he comes up against former youth-team coach Hughton at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

"He's a player I knew very well in my years as a coach at Tottenham and him being a young player coming through my group," said Hughton.

"On a personal note I'm delighted to see him playing at the top level for as long as possible.

"He's a good lad and you can't play until that age unless you are dedicated to what you do.

"I think he's very good for our game, I think he's a brilliant ambassador for our game.

"It will be nice to see him, hopefully he doesn't play too well against us."

Crouch failed to make a single first-team appearance during his initial spell at White Hart Lane, before dropping into the Football League to learn his trade with QPR and Portsmouth.

He returned to the top-flight with Aston Villa in 2002 and, aside from a short loan stint with Norwich, remained in the top division for a further 16 years, playing for Southampton, Liverpool, Pompey, Spurs and Stoke.

At international level, he scored 22 goals in 42 England appearances and played at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.

Hughton recalls a brief loan move to Swedish club IFK Hassleholm in 2000 alongside fellow Spurs youngster Alton Thelwell being a significant spell in Crouch's development.

"We sent him on loan to Sweden with one other lad and that was almost the turnaround for him. Before that – although he was always tall – he wasn't so dominant in the air," added Hughton.

"He's a player that's perhaps not going to play the minutes that he would have done a few years ago, but he's a player that also can be very, very effective."

After securing Europa League qualification through an unlikely seventh-placed finish last term, Sean Dyche's Clarets have endured a difficult campaign and are involved in a relegation battle.

The Lancashire club sit two points and a place above the drop zone ahead of their trip to the south coast, with Albion only three points better off following a five-match winless run.

"I'm expecting a tight game," said Hughton.

"The levels of the two teams have been relatively similar over the last couple of seasons, they of course had an outstanding season last season and testament to them.

"I think most people felt after a difficult start with the Europa cup, a lot of games, that they really just needed to get into a settled pattern.

"And I think with no Europa cup games now, it's allowed them to do that."



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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City27212474205465
2Liverpool26205159154465
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs26200654252960
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd26156552351751
5Arsenal26155653371650
6Chelsea26155645291650
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2611693433139
8Watford2610793434037
9Everton2796123639-333
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2696113239-733
11Bournemouth26103133747-1033
12Leicester CityLeicester2695123134-332
13Crystal Palace2676132734-727
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2676132839-1127
15Burnley2676132947-1827
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2667132234-1225
17Cardiff CityCardiff2674152447-2325
18Southampton2659122844-1624
19Fulham2645172558-3317
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2625191448-3411
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City27212474205465
2Liverpool26205159154465
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs26200654252960
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd26156552351751
5Arsenal26155653371650
6Chelsea26155645291650
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2611693433139
8Watford2610793434037
9Everton2796123639-333
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2696113239-733
11Bournemouth26103133747-1033
12Leicester CityLeicester2695123134-332
13Crystal Palace2676132734-727
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2676132839-1127
15Burnley2676132947-1827
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2667132234-1225
17Cardiff CityCardiff2674152447-2325
18Southampton2659122844-1624
19Fulham2645172558-3317
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2625191448-3411
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