Recently spinning hilarious tales from his new autobiography, Peter Crouch has taken the time to pay a heartfelt message of support to a stricken former teammate.
Stephen Darby, a former Liverpool youth team player who's period at the club overlapped with Crouch's time there, was forced into early retirement this week after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
Only 29-years-old, Darby had established himself as a solid player in England's lower leagues, and was playing in the Championship with Bolton Wanderers when news of his condition emerged.
Writing in his Daily Mail column today, Crouch paid tribute to a former teammate he described as one of the 'most genuine young professionals' he had come across.
Describing him as a 'natural leader,' Crouch outlined how quickly Darby adapted to the demands of first-team training in Liverpool.
Others had more talent, but nobody could beat him in terms of commitment and that's why he had the respect of the older professionals immediately. We could all see how much he wanted it. He was 18 when he first joined in training with us at Melwood — you knew he was around with the full-blooded tackles he made — and he took it in his stride. Darbs was steady and had an old head on young shoulders. He was always keen to get advice and ultra-professional in his approach.
Comparing him to one of Liverpool's current star man James Milner in terms of how he approached the game, Crouch was similarly determined to demonstrate the high regard in which Darby was held by those at Liverpool.
I hope he knows that lots of people, particularly those who have worked alongside him, are fully behind him and ready to offer support. If, for instance, a game is staged for him at Anfield in the future, all the boys would get together. You would only have to say the word and I'd be there.
A beautiful tribute to a former teammate who's career has been cut tragically short, you can read the full article here.