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PETER CROUCH: Why blame Mohamed Salah for shooting? All strikers are selfish

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PETER CROUCH: Why blame Mohamed Salah for shooting? All strikers are selfish... and Jadon Sancho is the perfect fit for LiverpoolLiverpool star Mohamed Salah has become more single-minded in the past yearAnd it isn't a bad thing as a striker –  I can see parallels with Cristiano RonaldoSalah failed to set up Sadio Mane to score Liverpool's fourth at Turf MoorHe shouldn't be blamed for shooting – strikers can be the most selfish in a teamAnd Jadon Sancho could be a perfect fit for the Reds should he return to England

Peter Crouch is a columnist for Sportsmail

There will come a point when Mohamed Salah is charging at Newcastle's goal on Saturday but Sadio Mane is away to his left, screaming for a pass.

Given the way Mane exploded in Liverpool's last game at Burnley, all eyes will be on Salah. Will he pass? Don't bet on it.

I will tell you what the Egyptian will do: he'll shoot. In the world of a striker, goals are the only things that matter.

I've been watching Salah closely and had a feeling for a while that a moment such as Mane's at Turf Moor was coming. 

Salah has definitely become more single-minded over the last 12 months, to the point where he looks like he is obsessed with numbers.

This isn't a bad thing. I can see parallels with Cristiano Ronaldo, who started off providing magic out on the wings but then turned into a 'killer' through the middle. When your average goes from one goal in two games to one in one, you want to take every opportunity.

Salah is one of the best in the world and his form at the start of the season augurs well. He will score 20 in the league season again, at the very least. He has not climbed into the position of being one of the most feared strikers around by worrying about what pass he should make.

Mohamed Salah has become more single-minded over the past year – and it isn't a bad thing

I can see parallels with Cristiano Ronaldo, who turned into a 'killer' through the middle

He is wonderful to watch but, equally, I know how it feels to be in Mane's position. The way he erupted was the reaction of man who had been biting his lip for a long time but then couldn't hold back any longer. He wants goals every bit as much as Salah.

I can remember how it was when I used to play alongside Jermain Defoe. There would be plenty of times I'd find myself in a position where a pass would leave me with a simple tap-in, but Jermain would take the shot on himself.

It didn't matter where Jermain was: on the corner of the area, at a tight angle, running on to a pass. If he thought he was going to score, he was going to try. If he missed, I'd go berserk, but he'd just say, 'Oh, sorry Crouchy! I didn't see you!'

Eventually, I stopped shouting. Jermain wasn't changing for anyone. 

Sadio Mane (left) showed his frustrations when Salah failed to pass to him at Turf Moor

I can remember how it was when I used to play alongside Jermain Defoe (left) at Tottenham

None of that stopped Jermain and me having a good relationship, and I don't doubt Salah and Mane have a good relationship, too. There is nothing wrong with friendly rivalry if it can spur both of you: privately, I bet Mane is aiming to outscore Salah.

There can be times, however, when someone doesn't pass for ulterior motives. When Roman Pavlyuchenko was at Tottenham, it was obvious he saw me as competition and our relationship was never anything other than civil.

We were vying to play alongside Jermain or Rafa van der Vaart, but occasionally there were matches when we operated as a pair. Roman could strike the ball with both feet, and more often than not he would get his shot on target.

When he took shots on from impossible angles, however, I knew it was because he didn't want me to score. Why would he? If me doing well meant he was out of the team, of course he was going to look after himself. Strikers are the most selfish characters in a team.

I was often vying with Roman Pavlyuchenko (R) to play and we always looked after ourselves

I used to see it in training with England. The sessions would be ferocious, particularly if five forwards had been called up but only one starting place was available. You look after yourself, first and foremost, because nobody else will.

The other thing you have to remember is that it's all right if forwards aren't friends. I've played in plenty of teams and seen countless rows. I've seen colleagues punching each other at half-time and hugging each other an hour later. No football team consists of 11 best mates.

I don't for one moment think what happened with Salah and Mane will become a problem for Liverpool —Jurgen Klopp wouldn't let it fester, that's for sure — but, equally, I wouldn't be surprised if it happened again. Strikers don't want to pass. Strikers want to score.


The thing I love most about watching England now is the youth that is running through the squad — how fearless those young players are!

I spoke about James Maddison two weeks ago but you can add so many other names, such as Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mason Mount and Declan Rice. You hear their names every week, so it makes you overlook their youth. What they are doing is fantastic.

Then there is Jadon Sancho. What he did to launch his career deserves huge praise. It couldn't have been easy leaving England to play club football in Germany, but he looks destined to become a superstar and I thought he was superb against Kosovo. 

Jadon Sancho deserves huge praise for what he's done to launch his career

The easy thing for him to do would have been to remain at Manchester City, get paid well and make the odd appearance off the bench, but he stepped out of his comfort zone to join Borussia Dortmund and you can see how much he is enjoying himself.

I fully expect one of these kids to take a huge leap forward next summer and leave a big mark on the European Championship. The more I see of Sancho, the more I am convinced he is going to be the one who explodes on to the scene.

All being well, he will return to the Premier League. Clubs will be queuing up to sign him and while there has been noise about him joining Manchester United, I wonder whether Liverpool might actually be the perfect fit. It would not surprise me to see him at Anfield.


No club in the country confuses me more than Watford. I've never understood how their policy of players and managers coming and going kept them in the Premier League, but they made themselves a fixture. In Javi Gracia, I thought they had the perfect man to guide them forward.

To see him sacked after four games, then, was extremely disheartening. He did a magnificent job last year, steering them into 11th place and a first FA Cup final appearance since 1984. It's a joke that such work clearly stands for little now.

Watford had a good man in Gracia. It will be interesting to see where they go from here under Quique Sanches Flores.

In Javi Gracia, I thought Watford had the perfect man to guide them forward


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