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Link man Heskey can make Rooney tick for England

| 10.06.2010

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.

While Heskey is an outside 10/1 bet to be England’s top scorer at the World Cup, the powerful striker is a tempting 7/1 to score first against the USA.

Who do you think will score first against the USA? Wayne Rooney is 3/1. See the full England vs USA market.



Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.