Emile Heskey returns to England national team

Many of you would have seen Wigan Athletic’s Emile Heskey partner Michael Owen upfront in the Euro 2008 qualifier against Israel yesterday. For a normal soccer fan, it would probably have meant nothing more than a striker playing for a country. But yesterday’s game was a landmark of sorts for Heskey. If you strain your memory a bit, remember his last appearance. It was against France in Euro 2004.
England were leading 1-0. Heskey came on as a sub and unfortunately conceded the freekick that Zinedine Zidane converted, and France scored another to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

The chances for a recall for Heskey had grown dimmer and dimmer over the years. From being Liverpool’s record transfer signing, he now plays for Wigan. Nothing wrong with that, but you have to admit that Liverpool are a more high profile club than the Latics. Yesterday’s appearance, incidently made Heskey the first ever Wigan player to play for the Three Lions.

Heskey’s strengths are his pace and strength. He isn’t the greatest dribbler, finisher or crosser you can have in your side. And with the emergence of the likes of Nugent, Rooney, Crouch, Defoe and Bent, Heskey had dropped down the pecking order. Also, you need to take into consideration the fact that Heskey has scored only five goals for England so far in 44 appearances ( yesterday was his 44th).

Compare this to

Owen – 38 goals from 84 appearances.

Rooney -12 goals from 38 appearances.

Peter Crouch -12 goals from 20 appearances.

McLaren did take a bit of a gamble in recalling Heskey, but in the end, all did turn out well as England produced one of their best performances under him to beat Israel 3-0.

Will we see more international appearances from Emile Heskey ? Only time will tell.

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