Sunday, May 20, 2018

Why is Heskey the best for England?

Graham Fisher in Editorial, General Soccer News 13 Oct 2009


Best striker?

Best striker?

Fabio Capello has made it quite clear that he will only pick players who are in form and playing regularly for their clubs.


Emile Heskey has played in a majority of England’s world cup qualifying matches and is clearly Capello’s number one choice to partner Wayne Rooney in England’s attack. Emile Heskey has made just one Premier League appearance this season at his club Aston Villa.

The two paragraphs above simply do not add up. We need to look for reasons as to why Capello is prepared to go against his own principles in relation to this one player.


When you look at Heskey’s scoring record it certainly doesn’t come anywhere near to providing an answer to the question. In fifty-seven England appearances he has found the net just seven times. That is less than a goal every eight games.

At club level in all competitions he has managed one hundred and thirty-eight goals in six hundred appearances. That is less than a goal every five games. He is hardly prolific.


Is it his all round game that Capello admires so much. Well, the answer to that question is obviously yes, although the much heard terrace chant of, “If Heskey plays for England so can I,” suggests that many fans don’t agree.

Heskey realises that he is in a difficult position and has suggested that he may have to leave Villa in order to get regular football and prove he is worth his place in the team for the world cup.

“I will have to sit down and think about my next move. I don’t know whether I can get a World Cup place if I’m not playing for Villa. I’m happy to be playing for England and, obviously, not playing at club level is difficult. It’s something I will have to look at when I get back and try to address it.”

Despite the criticism he recieves, Heskey is a player who does seem to add something to the England team. Wayne Rooney clearly enjoys playing alongside him and Michael Owen has gone on record to say that he is his favourite strike partner.


The likes of Jermaine Defoe and Darren Bent who are playing regularly at club level and have tremendous scoring records, must be at a loss to understand how they are being left out at Heskey’s expense. They are different types of players but Defoe has eleven goals in thirty seven internationals and scores a goal every two and a half games at club level and Bent is similarly prolific.

Also overlooked, if Capello wants a big man up front, is Peter Crouch. OK, he doesn’t play regularly for Tottenham but he has played more than one game this season and has scored almost a goal every other game in his thirty-four internationals.

I think I would pick Emile Heskey to partner Wayne Rooney for England as well but I have absolutely no idea why when there seem to be far better candidates for the role. Can anyone help?


Graham Fisher



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