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Ask Crouchie! Our resident columnist is back to answer YOUR questions…

Yet another dramatic week of Premier League action has brought up plenty more talking points. 

Sportsmail‘s resident columnist Peter Crouch has been answering some of your questions that have got him thinking most this week.   

How does relegation affect players and how do they prepare mentally for the following season?

Carl Cornish via email

I got relegated twice, Carl. The first time, with Southampton in 2005, I didn’t fully appreciate the size of the circumstances. I moved to Liverpool that summer and I didn’t experience the fall-out – though the feeling of falling out of the league was sickening.

The second time, with Stoke in 2018, continues to haunt me. The television cameras and photographers pick up the grief on the pitch and in the stands, of heartbroken players and fans, but what you don’t see is the way it rips into a club.

People such as the girls in the canteen, the security guards, the cleaning staff, the backroom staff – they all get impacted upon because of your shortcomings. People’s livelihoods are put at stake through the lost revenue.

To stand any chance of coming straight back, a club needs to add players who have not been scarred by relegation – big characters to lift the gloom.

When Stoke went down two years ago, the gloom remained for months. If you want to win promotion immediately, you need the right players.

My son Dan is a Watford fan and has asked can you please be our new manager!

Jan Creasey via email

It’s funny you say that, Jan. Chris Stark, who I do my podcast with, is also a massive Watford fan and he reckons, as everyone else has had a go, that I should have my turn. Maybe I should bring Chris as my assistant? Tell Dan I’m flattered that he thinks I could do the job.

On a serious note, though, I cannot believe they sacked Nigel Pearson. Watford were dead and buried when he was appointed.

I saw his first game, at Liverpool on December 14, and they were unlucky not to get a result. He went one better against Liverpool at Vicarage Road on February 29.

The only explanation for him being sacked now is that there has been a row. Even so, why were those differences not put to one side until the end of the campaign? Surely those in charge could have looked at the bigger picture?

Watford may avoid relegation but the reality is they have put themselves in a dreadful position by sacking the man who looked like he had worked his magic. If they do go back into the Championship, they will only have themselves to blame.

What was your highlight of the season?

Paddy H via Twitter

This was my first season not being a professional footballer, Paddy. I wondered how I would cope but, with this column and my TV commitments, the time has flashed by and the only time I have really missed playing was at Christmas.

I’m in a privileged position, I know that, as I can still be around the game and the undoubted highlight was the day I spent at Melwood, Liverpool’s training ground, in December. I went to interview Jurgen Klopp and have a look around the place.

I had not been back since I left in 2008 and it was a fantastic experience to see the players. I had lunch with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Virgil van Dijk, caught up with Michael Edwards, the sporting director who I knew from Portsmouth, then had time with Klopp.

After everything he’s achieved this season, I don’t think it’s wrong for me to say he is a legend. Klopp leading Liverpool to the title was my highlight.

Which player has most impressed you in the bottom half of the Premier League?

Ram Teja via Twitter

Well, Ram, if you play for Southampton and go into the final weekend of the campaign with a chance of winning the Golden Boot you have had a brilliant time. For that reason, nobody has impressed me more than Danny Ings.

I remember him at Burnley; I saw him at Liverpool and felt so sorry for him that things never worked out due to injury. People there tell me he would have played so much more without those issues and I believe he could have been a credible alternative to Roberto Firmino.

He would have been in England’s Euro 2020 squad had things been ‘normal’ this year and I hope he gets a chance in the future; he’s different to Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford, he’s clever and links the play.

He’s flourished in a side that has had difficulties and I don’t think he’s finished improving.

Do you think the Champions’ League should revert to the European Cup? Which teams will get the final two places?

Doug Meredith via email

I’m a traditionalist, Doug. The competition I knew growing up was the European Cup, when it was dominated by AC Milan in the late 1980s, and it would make more sense to call it that now because, as you said to me, it isn’t a tournament solely for champions.

Having played in it, I can tell you it is football of the highest possible quality and it will be fascinating to see how the drama plays out on Sunday when Chelsea play Wolves and Leicester and Manchester United go head-to-head.

I will make the call now and say that Chelsea and Manchester United will finish third and fourth. If that happens, nonetheless, I will have some sympathy for Leicester.

They have been up there all season, looking certainties to qualify for much of it, but they have run out of gas.

There is still a glimmer of hope – never rule out a team with Jamie Vardy up front – but losing three-quarters of their defence on the run-in has been a hammer blow. They will do well to recover from the setbacks they have had on Sunday.

Why do you always put the questioner’s name in your replies?

Maximus Decimus Meridius Barnsworth via email

Thank you very much for your question, Maximus Decimus Meridius Barnsworth. There is a very simple explanation for you and that is I was raised with the correct manners and it’s important address people by their name. Very best wishes to you, Maximus Decimus Meridius Barnsworth!

Did you come close to coming back to QPR?

Paul Curran via email

I love QPR and, yes, there were a couple of times when I thought a return was on the cards. The closest I came was when Harry Redknapp was manager but, for one reason or another, it never quite worked out.

It was a shame as I always thought it would have been nice symmetry to start and finish my career in blue and white hoops. I love Loftus Road and that first year, playing professional football with my mates in the crowd, was one of the happiest in my life.

My mates used to be in the crowd and always backed me to be first goalscorer and more often than not, I was. I still speak to Andy Sinton and he wants me to get involved with the Forever Rs initiative. It’s something I’d love to do.

You said Frank Lampard was the only man to replace Maurizio Sarri – are you surprised by how good he has been?

Max Baker-Smith via Twitter

He has, Max. I knew Frank would be the right fit for a club that had lost its identity under Sarri but I anticipated this would be a season of transition. If he was to finish in the top four and win the FA Cup – let’s be honest, Chelsea are favourites – that would be a quite magnificent first year.

When they add Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech in the summer, to go with Christian Pulisic, they will be one of the most exciting sides in the business. I can’t wait to see their progress.

On that note, let me wish you all the very best for the summer. Stay safe and see you again in September.

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