Burnley boss Sean Dyche has commended Peter Crouch’s mentality since the veteran striker walked through the doors at Turf Moor.
The former England international switched places with Sam Vokes on deadline day and, having made his mark against Southampton, had teamed up with the rest of the squad for a warm weather training camp in the Algarve, Portugal, last week.
The 38-year-old has already insinuated that he’d like to prolong his career beyond the summer and that’s an attitude which impresses Dyche.
With Crouch close to emulating Teddy Sheringham, Ryan Giggs and Kevin Phillips, who all appeared in the Premier League at the age of 40, Dyche said: “That’s a great mentality, that’s exactly the desire, feel and edge we want from players.
“Not just for a contract, but what it means to be a professional footballer because it’s a long time gone.
“Some players are ready for it. I was ready for it, I knew and that was it. He’s not ready for it. He’s got that extra of, ‘I love being out there, I want to play, I want to be around the group’. The rest we will see.”
The agreement in place will currently keep the one-time Champions League finalist at the club until the end of the season. As of yet there hasn’t been any talks between the parties to suggest anything to the contrary, but Dyche isn’t ruling out any possibilities.
“Yeah, we’ll see,” he said. “I’m certainly not ageist in football. If they have got something to offer and the fire and desire to do it, then we take them seriously.
“But that will happen at a later date. He knows that. There’s no agreements or chatter about that.
“He just wanted to come here and be effective in the Premier League. That was his starting point and that’s what we will continue to build on.”
The Clarets chief, nominated for January’s Manager of the Month gong, likened the latest addition to his squad to stalwart Michael Duff, who made his final appearance in the top flight at 37, against Stoke City.
And that example, for Dyche, proves that age is just a number when dealing with such honest and dedicated professionals.
He said: “I think that the last one of his ilk we had in-house was Michael Duff and he had a very open minded view.
“He wanted the professional pressure and he stayed sharp and was still playing in the Premier League at 37. So there’s no reason for Crouchy not to think, ‘He was doing that as a centre-half, so couldn’t a centre-forward do that?’.
“That’s the first thing – he certainly doesn’t carry weight, we all know that. Players look after themselves with completely different strength and conditioning, completely different diet. Their bodies are better now.
“I think as long as their minds are sharp and mostly their appetite, if you’ve got the fire in your belly to still go out and play in the right manner to be successful, that’s one of the key things.
“You can’t cheat the system and there comes a time for every player, but Crouchy’s got a lot to offer.”