However, is Heskey in a position to state such a claim, when statistically he is the least clinical striker in the entire England squad this summer? Even more so, wasn’t Emile the one who missed a golden opportunity to clinch all 3 points the other night?
Capello decided to play a 4-4-2 formation against the US last Saturday (12th of June), and as such, partnered Emile Heskey up front with Wayne Rooney. The Villa man put in an adequate performance. He won a majority of the aerial battles and his hold up play did cause several problems for the Americans. Although when given the chance to show his ability in front of goal, the England striker proved once again that he is simply not a prolific finisher. Heskey’s best chance came when the strong forward was threaded a lovely through ball by Aaron Lennon before hammering his chance straight into the US keeper Tim Howard.
It was possibly England’s best opportunity to grab all 3 points on what was a nervy night in Rustenburg. Unfortunately the three lions could only manage a 1-1 draw, which has now increased the pressure on the team to get a good result against Algeria this Friday night. Speaking to the gathering press, Heskey spoke of his crucial chance:
‘With my chance in the second half, the keeper (Howard) stood up quite well. I just tried to get as much power behind it as possible because these balls do move around. He has done well but he is lucky it has caught him right in the midriff but we kept plugging away and kept creating chances.”
Heskey’s latest revelation will no doubt have raised a few eyebrows back home and may have had a number of fans (including myself) rolling on the floor with laughter. The fact is the England international is in no position to be questioning the team’s callousness in front of goal when he himself can’t bury a brilliant yet simple chance.
Conversely, Many England fans will wonder why the stocky forward is even in South Africa considering his goal scoring record for his country.
The 6’ 2’’ England forward’s record now stands at 7 goals in 59 appearances for his country, which begs the question, why is Heskey picked over Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe, who both have a better goal-scoring record?
Ok, a number of fans will agree with the myth that Heskey brings out the best in Rooney, but can England afford to play a striker that doesn’t score goals in the world’s greatest tournament?
If Heskey believes England need to be more ruthless in front of goal (as he has stated in the press recently) then surely he should do the admiral deed and let either Crouch or Defoe take his place in the starting line-up this Friday. He doesn’t offer anything to the team other than a decent hold up game and aerial ability.
With this being said, if this is what Capello wants to install into his team, then why doesn’t the Italian just pick Crouch? Crouch acquires both attributes that Heskey does, but the big difference between the two is that Crouch can score goals. England also have a firecracker striker in Jermain Defoe who again can bag a goal in the process. Defoe also acquires blistering pace, which will no doubt cause the opposing defence a problem or two.
Although, Heskey will want to continue playing throughout the tournament, the strong forward’s position (considering his goal ratio) will surely have to be looked at by the England coach, after witnessing yet another performance in which the striker has failed to find the back of the net.
The plain and simple truth is, Heskey must be dropped in order for his own declaration to become a reality. However, this will be up to Capello to waver over the next few days.
Whatever the Italian does decide to do, Heskey should do himself a favour and keep his thoughts to himself about England’s ruthlessness, especially when the England international hasn’t been able to score a goal for his country in over a year now.
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