Goal hero Crouch pushing for Stoke starts

Mark Hughes refused to rule out restoring Peter Crouch to Stoke City's starting line-up after the veteran striker came off the bench to secure a point at home to Leicester City.

The fixture finished 2-2 for a third season in succession after Leicester led twice through Vicente Iborra's first goal for the club and Riyad Mahrez's solo effort in the second half.

Xherdan Shaqiri netted a finely crafted leveller for Stoke in the 39th minute and turned provide as Crouch stole into space at the near post to head in from his 73rd-minute corner.

Speaking after the Premier League match, the 36-year-old reiterated his desire to start games at this late stage of his career and Hughes confirmed the former England international had given him something to think about.

"We had to make changes and the big man has come on for us again and made an impact for us, as he always does," Hughes told Sky Sports after watching Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel deny Kurt Zouma a last-gasp winner.

"He's plan B at the moment but if he keeps on playing like he is, never mind his age, he becomes a plan A.

"He's had a little bit of an issue with his back and he put his hand up a couple of weeks ago when he really shouldn't and said he could give me 20 minutes.

"That's the character of Pete and I thought he was really effective. He gave them a different problem and that's what he does when he comes on as a sub.

"A point was the least we deserved for our endeavour and determination to come back twice. We could have won it at the end - it was a great save by Kasper."

Schmeichel played down the importance of his own contribution and believed Leicester should have been celebrating two wins out of two under new manager Claude Puel.

"I felt we had enough chances to win the game. Maybe in the first half we should have been 2-0 or 3-0 up," he told Sky Sports before agreeing with Hughes over Crouch's definitive impact on an end-to-end contest.

"They battled well and as soon as Crouch came on he gave us problem straight away. He's a difficult player to handle and we're disappointed not to have dealt with it.

"We were resilient to a certain extent but the goals we conceded were avoidable and we needed a little bit more care with the ball at times.

"Overall it's encouraging but it's slightly disappointing."

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