Can England afford to take Emile Heskey to the World Cup?
It’s a question that has been in my mind for a while, but I’m not sure England chief Fabio Capello has been losing any sleep over it.
The Aston Villa frontman looks a shoo-in for the plane to South Africa after featuring heavily in qualifying. And if he was omitted and England failed in South Africa, questions would surely be asked as to why Capello left his “tried and tested” striker back home.
But with numerous other options open to Capello is Heskey worth a place in the 23-man squad?
His goal record is dreadful – he scored just once in qualification and has just seven goals from his 57 caps, while his Villa record is just as bad with just three goals all season.
However, Capello does like the way that Heskey leads the line and is a big fan of his link-up play with kingpin Wayne Rooney. But surely England have other players who can also do that and offer goals as well?
To rely on Rooney to fire England to glory would be crazy. If England are to prove a worthwhile World Cup bet somewhere along the way they will have to get goals from elsewhere and Heskey is unlikely to provide them.
If you consider Rooney, Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe are all certain to make the squad, then surely Heskey’s place is under threat? Sunderland frontman Darren Bent has been scoring for fun this term and Bobby Zamora is also bang in form for Fulham. Theo Walcott and Carlton Cole could also be options in attack but both of those, like Heskey, are badly out of form and if Capello is as good as his word then neither of them will be heading for South Africa either.
I fully expect Heskey to make it the 23-man squad, but I’d be tempted to give Bent or Zamora a go.
Meanwhile, in horse racing this year’s Grand National odds have shifted after the race handicapper revealed who he thought was in with the best chance of winning the Aintree event.
Written by Betfair blogger, Phil Tomlinson