DENNIS LAWRENCE believes he has had the perfect preparation to handle Liverpool striker Peter Crouch at the World Cup by coming up against Grimsby giant Ben Futcher while on Wrexham duty.
With Wayne Rooney likely to be ruled out of the group stages, the 32-year-old Trinidad & Tobabo central defender could be marking England front-man Crouch when the two countries meet in Nuremberg on June 15.
With both players standing at 6ft 7ins, it promises to be a tussle of titanic proportions if each of them finds themselves on the team sheet for the Group B encounter.
Lawrence has become a national hero in his homeland after his winning header against Bahrain last November secured passage to T&T's first World Cup finals.
And now the man nicknamed 'Tallest' by his international team- mates believes he will be able to nullify Crouch's aerial threat on the day.
"We are both big guys, but I have played against people as big as Crouch and it's not a problem for me," said Lawrence who missed out on promotion from League Two with Denis Smith's Wrexham last season.
"Ben Futcher, who plays for Grimsby, is 6ft 7ins too and I had to deal with him. So playing against Crouch is not going to be much different from what I have come up against before."
Lawrence, who was bought by the Dragons for £100,000 in 2001 from his country's Defence Force, is relishing the prospect of coming up against Crouch and his Anfield skipper Steven Gerrard.
"They are fantastic players and they just part of a wealth of talent in the English squad," he added. "I've seen them on television as much as anyone else. They are really fabulous at what they do and I am looking forward to playing against them."
Lawrence, though, is keen to play down media hype surrounding the England clash with group clashes against Sweden and Paraguay also on the horizon.
Some 15 of Leo Beenhakker's 23-man squad are attached to British clubs with T&T's famous 'White Warrior' Chris Birchall an ardent Liverpool fan - despite playing for Port Vale.
But Lawrence stressed: "Unlike the media and everybody else, we are not focusing on England. We are focusing on Sweden because that's our first game.
"We only have to concentrate on the England game when it comes. We know that it will not be easy against them - in fact it will be the most difficult match we face, but we have to prepare right for Sweden.
"No one game is bigger than any other for us and we intend to take the tournament step by step. We have nothing to fear and everything to gain."
Lawrence has already been tormented by Wales' 5ft 8ins striker Robert Earnshaw in a World Cup warm-up with the Norwich striker's brace settling a 2-1 friendly victory in Austria.
The Soca Warriors have since lost 3-1 to Slovenia, but Lawrence - once offered a contract by Bolton before settling in North Wales - believes the smallest nation ever to qualify for the World Cup finals can make their mark in Germany.
"We have time to work on those parts of our game that didn't go so well for us against Wales, but the only major downside for us was the scoreline," he claimed..
"There's no reason why we can't cause a few surprises in Germany. If we believe in ourselves, as we do, who is to say what might happen."