Link man Heskey can make Rooney tick for England
Emile Heskey is said to be wrought with guilt about his role in the injury which ruled England captain Rio Ferdinand out of the World Cup.
Ferdinand damaged his knee ligaments after the chunky Aston Villa striker fell awkwardly on him as the two collided during a training session.
Heskey’s shame could, however, be the inspiration he needs to rediscover his form and force his way into Fabio Capello’s starting XI for the World Cup opener against the USA on Saturday.
England players have refused to blame Heskey for Ferdinand’s misfortune, and they appreciate the ways in which the former Liverpool target man can bring his team-mates into play.
While his international goalscoring record is underwhelming, he is an invaluable link between midfield and attack, and his intuitive connection with those around him allows England’s key players to flourish.
Heskey famously formed a highly effective partnership with Michael Owen, and he seems to have a similar understanding with Wayne Rooney.
In the last seven games in which both Heskey and Rooney have started, Rooney has scored eight goals and Heskey has scored two.
Heskey has proven that he gets the best out of Rooney, and with the Manchester United forward so crucial to England’s hopes, Capello could be convinced to start with Heskey against the USA if he consults such statistical evidence.