Kirkland backs Heskey
Emile Heskey is the striker to scare Israel, according to Wigan team-mate Chris Kirkland.
Last Updated: 06/09/07 8:50am
Steve McClaren's decision to recall Emile Heskey to his England squad may have been greeted with indifference at best, but he is the striker to scare Israel, at least according to Wigan team-mate Chris Kirkland.
Prior to an injury crisis which besieged England's camp Heskey had remained very much in the international wilderness but with McClaren running out of options, when coupled with his excellent form for Wigan, a call-up has been forthcoming.
It seems likely Heskey will be paired with his former strike partner Michael Owen and Kirkland has called on the England faithful to back the much beleaguered front man.
Citing a rampaging prowess, Kirkland feels it is imperative to look beyond a lack of goals to fully appreciate what Heskey brings to the table.
"Some of the critical stuff that has been written about Hesk has been unbelievable," Kirkland told the Daily Mirror.
"He was made a scapegoat for some of our problems once and now people are trying to do it again before he's even been picked in the team.
"I find it especially wrong when it comes from ex-pros who have played the game although none of them have played against him or with him."
Kirkland went on to draw favourable comparisons with Chelsea's powerhouse striker Didier Drogba.
"He's England's Didier Drogba. He's as powerful, strong and quick as Drogba and he deserves the same respect," he added.
"Drogba got some stick when he first came to this country and people were coming after him, too, but they've stopped now.
"Hesk has got to be the first name on our team sheet at Wigan. Without him, we would have been relegated last season. There's no doubt about that.
"He has never been prolific but I'd swap his comparative lack of goals for everything else he contributes, every time.
"It's not as if he doesn't score goals. He does. But he works so hard for the team that he buys space and time for others. That's why people like Michael Owen like playing with him."