Peter Crouch realises that not every footballer is going to be like him when it comes to heading.
But there are some he has shared a pitch with who he knew as ‘turtles’ – players who would go out of their way not to head it.
That includes even in situations when the club, like Stoke City, is in a battle to stay in the Premier League.
And a player like Maxim Choupo-Moting.
Crouch said in the latest edition of his podcast: “It’s obvious to everyone if someone doesn’t fancy it, that they’ll go up and go, ‘Oh, I just can’t quite get there…’
“It’s the turtle neck, it goes back into the shell. Instead of extending your neck it goes back into your shell. I know a turtle when I see one.
“We had a player at Stoke, Choupo-Moting, a fantastic player. So much ability.
“He was 6ft 4in and he could dominate a centre-half if he wanted to but with that technique and flair that he had, I just felt that he didn’t want to head the ball, really.”
Choupo-Moting was brought in during the summer of 2017 as a free agent to fill the big boots of Marko Arnautovic, who had been the talisman of Mark Hughes’s team the previous season.
It transpired to be a dreadful piece of recruitment, even if his first two home games were a 1-0 win over Arsenal and a 2-2 draw with Manchester United, when he scored both goals – including a header, which showed he could do it when he wanted.
His last contribution was scoring in a 2-1 home defeat to Everton in March, taking a knock in the process. There were seven games remaining but he refused painkilling injections to be a part of the fight.
At the age of 29, he was released by mutual consent that summer with two years remaining on his contract – so that he could sign for money bags Paris St Germain later that day.
Crouch said: “There was one particular game against West Ham, it was a big deal for us, we were down at the bottom.
“I remember flicking it on down the line and he was up front with me. I was shouting to get closer to me and he was going, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah.’ He kept saying, ‘Yeah’ and then not doing it. I was saying, ‘What’s up?’
“A centre-half or full-back for West Ham at the time, he said, ‘Crouchy I need to speak to you. I know him from my time in Germany and he’s crazy.’
“I couldn’t get my head around it.”