Emile Heskey The Trojan Warrior

by Martin

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

England’s main man

I think the performance last night by a man with the middle name of Ivanhoe finally shut the naysayers up for good. At least I hope it did. For many years now Emile Heskey has been working like a Trojan for club and country, giving a majority of fine performances along the way, yet dogged by criticism from people who clearly don’t understand the game because he doesn’t score enough goals. Last night, as on Saturday, he was simply outstanding.

I was at his league debut for Leicester City, in the snow at QPR. The squad was hit with a bug and half the first team was out, so several youth players were drafted in. One was a giant centre forward, who worked hard to make an impact in a poor game, which we lost 2-0. The talk on the terrace that day was that he was the future of the club. The great Martin O’Neill spotted the talent and brought him into the side partnering him with the old hand Tony Cottee and also Steve Claridge. And he was a revelation. Not only did he score spectacular goals, but he gave those two old stagers a new lease of life, bringing them into the games and giving them the room to score pots of goals.

MON knew how to play Heskey. He’s a big lad, but he doesn’t thrive with his back to goal. He’s not brilliant with his head, but has two quick feet and great skill. I will never forget his double against Southampton, both from about 30 yards, both beating a couple of defenders first.

No-one was surprised when he went to Liverpool for 11 million, but it was here that problems set in. Gerard Houllier just didn’t understand the player. He forced him to play back to goal, pinging high balls into him to knock down for Owen. Yes, he could do it, and Owen loved playing alongside him, but it wasted a phenomenal talent. The boy needs to be given the space to play his football, beat a man, have a shot or feed telling balls in to his partner. Houllier sapped him of the confidence to do this and the crowd got on his back.

But still he ploughed on, doing what the manager told him to do, and played the same restrictive role for England under Eriksson, before being ignored by the cretinous McLaren.

Steve Bruce lets him play a bit more, and this has brought him to the attentions of Capello. And Capello, a football man, gets it. In the games he has played under Fabio, Heskey has become the lynchpin of the England attack. No longer are we seeing the long ball pumped up to him and strikers trying to latch on to it. Now we are watching the Leicester Heskey again, beating his man, winning free kicks and laying on absolute sitters for the likes of Defoe and Rooney. And what a surprise, with Emile back Rooney and England are scoring goals again.

He is now key to our success in the world cup and long may that continue. All he needs now is a goal, and weren’t we all willing that chance in at the death against Kahzakstan, and he will shut the idiots up for good.

Welcome back Ivanhoe, we missed you…

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  • Matt Quinn

    Totally agree… yet some people are still saying “imagine how many goals Owen would score in this team alongside Rooney.” Heskey brings so much to a team and its no surprise that Rooney has started scoring again now he is alongside the big man. Owen only ever scored when he partnered Heskey and look at Zaki at Wigan.
    While he may not score himself, as a team we play better, have a focal point, retain the ball better and score more as a team as a result.

  • Bakes

    Really good piece and have to agree. Heskey has always been pigeon holed because he didn’t score goals at international level and was always made a scapegoat. It’s nice to see him doing well and getting some credit. It is fashionable to play one up top these days and it refreshing to see two strikers who play off each other well and create problems for defences.

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    kevin davies at Bolton is a similar player in that he is probably the first player on the Bolton team sheet, he is vital to them, yet doesn’t score many goals.

    In fact, we have a sh*t hot player for my grass roots team, we partner him with a 37 year old who does all the unglamorous things like pass the ball 5 yards and bring others into the game. We have better players in the squad but they would never work together.

    I would like to see Englands win rate with Heskey in the side, I reckons it’s pretty impressive

  • Raggy

    Heskey is der main man, he has big boot and is a wondered kid! He is der man! Heskey sod play wid Bentley at Tooterham Hatspur

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