Former Portsmouth, Stoke and Southampton striker Peter Crouch responds to speculation he's coming out of retirement

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‘It’s not all as it seems’. That was former Pompey striker Peter Crouch’s message to excited fans following conjecture on Friday that he was making a playing comeback.

Supporters of Burton Albion were no doubt the most electrified after the League One side posted a picture of the 42-year-old holding aloft a Brewers shirt with the striker’s name and number 15 on the back.

The image appeared on X, formerly Twitter, with the Pirelli Stadium outfit saying: ‘A big return... @PeterCrouch #BAFC #BackStronger’. The post was accompanied with an alarm clock and Monday’s date – 09.10.23.

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The tweet, which was uploaded on Friday, has since been seen by nearly four million X users and generated plenty of speculation that Crouch was coming back to the beautiful game four years after hanging up his boots.

The Brewers, who sit 18th in the League One table with the third-worst ‘goals for’ record in the division, are next in action on Monday night when they host Cambridge United – a game that corresponds with the date shared on the club tweet.

It would be interesting to see how many previously aloof Burton fans descended on the Albion website or ticket office to snap up tickets for the now unexpectedly eye-catching game.

But before things got too far out of hand, Crouch himself took to social media to play down the hypothesizing. Remaining vague, while also keeping fans in suspense in regards to what he’s up to, he posted on X: ‘It’s not all as it seems. More to follow Monday… #BackStronger #BAFC’.

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Since retiring, the ex-Blues and England striker has forged himself a media career that includes working for TNT Sports as a pundit. He also launched his hugely successful That Peter Crouch Podcast in 2018, which is now into it’s fifth series.

Peter Crouch, centre, with former Pompey team-mates Armand Traoré and KanuPeter Crouch, centre, with former Pompey team-mates Armand Traoré and Kanu
Peter Crouch, centre, with former Pompey team-mates Armand Traoré and Kanu

He has also stayed in the game and was appointed director of football at non-league side Dulwich Hamlet, before stepping down from the role at the end of the 2022-23 season.

Crouchie scored 35 goals in 88 appearances over two spells for Pompey. The Blues spent a combined total of £10.5m on his services but brought in £14m in sales when he joined Aston Villa and Spurs respectively upon on his Fratton Park exits.

As well as Pompey, the popular 42-times capped England international has also played for Liverpool, QPR, Southampton, Norwich, Stoke and Burnley.