Capello hails two-goal Crouch
Fabio Capello admitted Peter Crouch was the difference as he set England on course for a 3-1 win over Egypt.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 03/03/10 11:25pm
England coach Fabio Capello admitted Peter Crouch was the difference as his half-time substitute claimed a brace in a morale-boosting 3-1 victory over Egypt.
The African Cup of Nations winners gave England a stern test at Wembley in their final game before Capello names his provisional World Cup squad and Mohamed Zidan's 23rd-minute strike gave Egypt a deserved half-time lead.
But England finally found their fluency after Crouch and Michael Carrick came on at the break and Crouch levelled in the 56th minute before fellow sub Shaun Wright-Phillips put the Three Lions in front in the 75th minute.
Crouch sealed England's 500th international victory with his 20th goal in 37 caps in the 80th minute and Capello highlighted what the Tottenham striker brings to the team.
"I said to the players to press more to win the ball back quickly and in the second half we did that," he said.
"Crouch is a big option for me because sometimes you can play the long ball. Today we didn't, and he played very well with one touch, two touches. In the second half he made the difference."
Given his international scoring record and his knack of being in the right place at the right time for England, Crouch has surely cemented himself as second-choice striker behind Wayne Rooney ahead of this summer's World Cup.
"All you've got to do when given your chance is try to take it and I've given the manager something to think about tonight," said Crouch.
Theo Walcott was given a chance to impress on the right side of midfield but Wright-Phillips made a bigger impact after replacing the Arsenal winger in the 57th minute.
Carrick and Gareth Barry shored up the centre of midfield in the second half, and Barry set up Crouch's equaliser before Wright-Phillips laid on his second.
"After the changes, England pushed three players forward and put a big burden on our players," said Egypt's assistant coach Chawki Gharib.
"With the deterioration in the players' fitness, we could not cope with the forwards."