PETER Crouch makes an immediate impression on most people

At 6ft 7in the striker is one of footballer's most recognisable characters.

It was in 2001 that Burnley boss Sean Dyche got his first look at the frontman's talents when the two faced off as players in the Championship.

Dyche was at Millwall and Crouch, still a teenager at the start of that campaign, had ironically turned down a move to the Clarets, then under Stan Ternent, to join Portsmouth.

It was honours even on the pitch as both sides won their respective home games but Dyche, speaking after securing the signature of Crouch, now 38, from Stoke City on deadline day, was impressed with what he saw.

"I have played against him, I smashed him all over the place," said the Clarets chief who was on the wrong end of a 3-0 defeat at Fratton Park having played in a 1-0 Millwall win in the reverse fixture.

"He played in a very strong Portsmouth side, they ran us ragged down there, it might have been 3-0.

"Crouch was a handful then, he was only young, and that's probably the first time I realised he wasn't just a big player. You thought he's got way more, his touch, his understanding was gaining, but you could tell he wasn't just about being a big fella.

"And you can see throughout his career he's proved much more than that.

"Obviously his goals record as well, you look at his England goals, he's on the top scorers list for England, so he knows how to find the net as well as produce assists for others."

Crouch has netted 22 times in his 42 Three Lions appearances while he has hit more than 100 Premier League goals.

And Dyche believes his new signing can still cut it in the top flight, citing the example of Joey Barton, who joined Burnley in the twilight of his career, as someone who can have an influence both on and off the pitch.

"I think the main thing for me is the motivation, regardless of age, you want motivation and fitness," said Dyche of Crouch.

"He's hardly had a serious injury in his career, I know his stats, he still covers the ground - he's never been a sprinter as such, he's more of a leggy, high-speed runner.

"He's a different character but is similar to Joey.

"Joey was never a sprinter but he knows the game and was fantastic for us.

"Crouch knows the league, the teams and the groups he's worked with - all of that can rub off.

"Here he'll have a clear platform to come in, enjoy what it is and hopefully produce on the back of that."