No longer Hes-key for England

by Gavin Caney

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

As Emile Heskey raced through for a one-on-one with Adam Federici I did wonder if the bed-ridden Gabby Agbonglahor had as much chance scoring. I didn’t fancy the big lump finding the back of the net, and by the looks of it neither did he. His tame effort was saved and in that instant Heskey’s season was encapsulated. Plenty of effort but not much end product. Many will argue this has always been the case with the former Leicester striker but up until recently he was seemingly guaranteed a spot in Fabio Capello’s starting 11. Let’s hope the Italian is starting to realise he is simply not worth it.

The Villa front-man has scored only five goals this campaign for his club and didn’t feature in last week’s friendly against Egypt. So what you may ask? Well Heskey has been poor this season. He has also been criticised by his club manager and now faces a battle to keep the popular John Carew out of the side after his excellent hat-trick at the Madjeski. Yes he can do his bit for the team but when you’re looking to win a World Cup that’s hardly reason to pick a player.

I personally believe Heskey should not be on the plane for many reasons. One is simply that he doesn’t score enough goals. That fact has often been over-looked because of how he brings Wayne Rooney into the game, but surely a striker’s main job is to find the net. Wayne Rooney is now in the goalscoring form of his career and has played in a more advanced role this campaign, so much so that he could probably lead the line himself. Rooney no longer needs Heskey to help him as a striker.

If Rooney does need a partner, surely Peter Crouch is a better option? Crouch’s record for England speaks for itself. 20 goals in 37 matches, many from the bench, pushes Crouch ahead of Heskey in the pecking order. Crouch can be Capello’s target-man if he wishes Rooney to have a freer role, while offering more of a goal threat than Heskey can ever dream of.

Rooney and Crouch are dead-certs for the plane. So maybe Heskey can take one of the other places? Well Defoe is ahead of him for a start. So if Capello takes four, does the big-man deserve that final slot? Hardly. Carlton Cole and Bobby Zamora, admittedly less experienced, can play the target-man role and still offer more of a goal threat that the ex-Liverpool striker.

Quite simply I believe Heskey has been lucky to feature in the England side for so long. He has helped Wayne Rooney but it should never have been a reason to keep him in the side.  His protege is now more than good enough to do the job without him. There are better strikers than Heskey. There are strikers that score more goals than Heskey. That’s quite a simple fact. Yet many of those strikers are English too.

While the door of opportunity to score Villa’s fourth on Sunday closed, another door at the airport opened for one of our country’s other marksmen. Let’s hope they continue to push and claim that final place because the last person we want running through for a one-on-one this summer is Emile Heskey.

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  • Dick

    You are wrong! Heskey is a fantastic team player that brings players into the game.

  • Devan

    what are you talking about it is a load of rubbish he has international experience and ties the whole england attack together

  • Matt

    Typical narrow minded claptrap. Heskey is still the best foil for Englan’s only truly world class talent, Wayne Rooney. Crouch can score against the minnows but is easily marked out of a game by top defenders – e.g Hangeland at the weekend. If England have any chance of winning in South Africa it will be by playing to the formula that was so succesful in qualifying – and I’m sure Fabio realises this. I don’t care if Heskey doesn’t score a single goal in the tournament if his presence means that England do – and in that he is proven and the statistics bare it out.

  • dexylongshot

    He may not get the goals but how did England fair has a whole in qualifying with Bruno upfront? Bloomin marvelous, thats what, with us scoring untold goals on the way, i’m not sure of the final stat but before the last game, i’m sure we had the most goals in European qualification & i believe it was around 8 strikes more than faves Spain who supposedly have the best attacking options in world footy along with Brazil. In Fabio we trust!

  • Chards

    This is why you aint a manager mate, Bruno may not score hatfulls but his selfleshness play means that others around him do. Makes me laugh how the likes of Owen and Rooney all openly admit they LOVE playing with him and you shoot him down as though you know more than they (and Fabio) do. Heskey would be the 2nd name down on my sheet after Rooney for the trip…

  • Juanillo

    This is the second person to write a similr article surrouding Heskey in recent months. Heskey has been rubbish this season??! Is that some sick joke?? The reason why milner has been fluorishing so well this season is with the help from Heskey tracking back and helping out. He may not score a lot of goals and at even Leicester he only scored 40 in 120 appearences. All you need to look at is how many goals Owen and Rooney have scored alongside him, as Heskey will win virtually 90% of the balls pumped up to him. As a Villa fan I have to admit that John ” i cant be bothered” Carew is being overshadowed by Heskey. Carew’s hattrick at Reading was really the first thing hes done at all this season and in the first half of that match he was truely awful!

  • Colin

    There are a number of people that have the same opinion as you do regarding Heskey. The majority of them don’t seem to know too much about football either. If we want to win the World Cup this year then Emile plays up front with Rooney. Due to their strength, we will have possession deep into opposition territory, which leads to goals that win games. Crouch might score goals but he’s weak. Who would you rather mark?

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