First thing that comes to mind as I’ve been struggling to come to grips with this for some time now. Why does this guy keep getting picked for England, one of the greatest football nations on Earth? I mean his club side Aston Villa don’t even pick him, and for a very good reason his game is extremely limited. Yes sometimes he holds the ball up half decent connecting the midfield and attack but surely that alone does not make him England material?
I would argue no other nation within Fifa’s World Top 20 would play Heskey within their starting line-ups. As he offers literally zero goal threat and for a striker that aint good!. Carew at his club side Villa offers a much better option, holds the ball up well and scores goals. Heskey can jump for headers, but not actually score them, can hold it up, but does not have the technique to play players in and lacks the instinct to get into goal scoring positions.
Only a team like England would persist in playing him as we like strong, fast physical players. Whereas the rest of the world encourage skill, flair and technique in their players from a young age.
Here is my list of strikers I would pick ahead of Heskey to partner Rooney and why.
1. Carlton Cole
Plays a very similar style of game to Heskey, leading the line for West Ham very well the last 2 seasons and, imagine this, actually scores goals. Very strong, can hold up the ball and run the channels just aswell as Heskey, while also having the technique to create chances for himself and others. He’s also impressed during his brief cameos for England.
2. Peter Crouch
Has an astonishing record of 18 goals in 35 England appearances, yes some of the goals were against some of football’s minnows, but alot were also sub appearances. Lacks the strength of Heskey, but is more effective in the air, has better technique and is better at bring others into play.
3. Jermaine Defoe
I’m convinced he will score at least 20 goals this season and his recent performances for England are evident of how effective this guy is as an out and out goal scorer. I would say he is England’s best actual striker. As I regard Rooney as more of a creative forward. As he prefers to drop deep and dictate play.
4. James Beattie
Has been criminally largely overlooked for England despite performing consistently for some of the Premiership’s lesser teams. Since arriving at Stoke City he has been a regular scorer. Beattie scored 7 goals in 16 games last season, that’s almost 1 goal in every 2 games for a relegation battler. Offers just as much of a threat in the air as he does on the floor.
5. Kevin Davies
Yeah lol, but i’m serious… He’s not the greatest striker ever but he does the “Heskey role” better than Heskey! Despite not being the best goal scorer over the years, he had his best season in 08/09 scoring 11 goals in 38 games, a tally Heskey can only dream of! Like Heskey a very limited player but exceptional at attacking set pieces, strength, holding up the ball and aerially.