Emile Heskey is a peculiar player. Depending on what your tastes are, he can be seen as an integral part to a team or he could be viewed as utterly terrible thus he will always prove a problem for managers.
For strike partners he is a dream, he holds up the ball and draws defenders out creating space. His unselfish style benefited Michael Owen at Liverpool and Wayne Rooney for England.
But on the other hand the powerful target man can be a nightmare. Only once in his career has the forward scored more than 15 goals in a season. His form in front of goal can be extremely frustrating and has lead to him being criticised in the media at various different times.
Heskey found the net for the first time in Villa’s draw with Burnley earlier this month then added to his tally with another against Pompey in the Carling Cup quarter final this week.
But what use is a striker that doesn’t score goals? Heskey has found himself out of favour with Martin O’Neill due to his lack of goals and this could jeopardise his place at the World Cup next year.
Heskey’s goal against Portsmouth was only his fourth competitive goal for Villa since his £3.5m move to Villa Park and he is now finding starts less frequent with just 3 in 11 appearances. But as much as Heskey has hopes for playing at the World Cup in South Africa, O’Neill has to look after the interests of Aston Villa and it would appear that with John Carew and Gabby Agbonlahor in the squad, Heskey will continue to find chances far and few in between.
Heskey is good at what he does, it’s undeniable but what he does is an ugly job that although necessary in the game won’t garner him as much attention as scoring goals ever will.
Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen will both bear witness to the positive effect Heskey can have on your performance but it gets to a stage where if that is the only thing that Heskey can bring to the table then he will inevitably be over looked
Martin O’Neill has challenged Heskey to go out and get more goals and if he hopes to go to the World Cup or even carrying on playing at Aston Villa he will need to do so. John Carew can also operate as a target man and has the added bonus of being able to find the back of the net. The same can be said for Carlton Cole, Heskey’s competition for a place in the England squad.
Essentially a striker that doesn’t score goals is about as useful as a car with no engine.
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