Former England striker Peter Crouch has boldly claimed Stoke City would have fancied their chances against anyone at one stage during his time at the club – including the likes of Barcelona at the Britannia.
The former England international made 261 appearances for the Potters and notched 61 goals in a spell that lasted between 2011 and 2019, most of that time being in the Premier League.
The Potters were renowned for a gritty style of football and being solid at home, especially during the period under Tony Pulis between 2011 and 2013, where they even qualified for the Europa League.
The former Liverpool and Portsmouth forward revealed that he believes Stoke could have beaten anyone at home at one stage – including superstars such as Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta – as he recalled his time at the club while speaking to fellow former England star Joe Cole.
‘I bought into it because when I arrived there, there was a lot of players that were playing above themselves, but the attitude and camaraderie in the group was amazing,’ Crouch said on the BT Sport Cole Cast.
‘It was one of the best dressing rooms that I’ve ever been a part of, you just knew you were going into battle everyday and going to get a result because of the work rate, attitude, the endeavour and dedication.
‘I reckon at that time we were only team that could beat Barcelona. We just made things horrible.
‘If Messi or Iniesta came to the Britannia at that time, I reckon we could have turned them over because we made it horrendous for teams.’
The 40-year-old even admitted that they used to train on the pitch ahead of certain matches to ensure it was cut up to prevent the opposition playing a free flowing game.
‘We trained in the middle of the pitch before we played Arsenal just to cut it all up,’ Crouch continued.
‘The grass had grown longer and I remember looking at Aaron Ramsey and he couldn’t see his boot. He went Crouchy and I went that’s just what we do here. It was brilliant.’
‘Tony always said, fair play to him, he could adapt but he didn’t. His best line of all-time for me was when he felt like we were getting ahead of ourselves.
‘It’s one of the best lines i’ve heard in football. He said don’t get ahead of yourselves lads, you’re bang average players in a fantastic system. I can’t argue with that.’