Capello hails Heskey
Fabio Capello believes Emile Heskey can bring out the best in England, not just Wayne Rooney.
Last Updated: 13/09/08 10:32pm
England boss Fabio Capello believes Emile Heskey can bring out the best in both strike partner Wayne Rooney and the team as a whole.
The big Wigan forward was recalled to the starting line-up by Capello for the 4-1 drubbing of Croatia in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier.
Theo Walcott scored a wonderful hat-trick, while Rooney also netted, so ending an 11-month international scoring drought.
But Capello believes Heskey also played a significant part in the victory - displaying the form he showed when partnering Michael Owen in 3-0 wins against Israel and Russia in England's Euro 2008 qualification campaign.
Capello said: "I am very happy with Heskey. He played very well against Croatia. He is a very good forward.
"Can he get the best out of Rooney? Yes - and not only Rooney but all of the team. Sometimes when we have problems, we can play the long ball to Heskey and he can deal with it.
"He has good ball control and can help the team go forward.
"Did I pay attention to his performances against Israel and Russia last autumn? No, I followed Heskey for three games. He played left; he played left wing, right-wing but never as a forward - never.
"For this reason, I never chose him until now."
Capello also praised Rooney, who has now returned to form following a virus he suffered during Manchester United's pre-season trip to Nigeria in late July.
"I am very happy with Rooney," said the England head coach.
"Some players like Rooney need more time to find good form physically. On Wednesday, I saw Rooney fit physically. This is important because he ran a lot, he was fast and the movement was different.
"When he is not in good condition physically, he is not the same player. When he is he scores a goal, runs a lot, shows good movement.
"He had a virus for two weeks in South Africa, but some of the players also take a while to get in full flow."
Despite two wins out of two, Capello is not getting carried away with England's start to their qualifying campaign.
He said: "We have just started. We have played two games away, six points.
"We have to be better. We are happy with two wins, and it was an important win in Croatia.
"But also in Belarus and the Ukraine will be tough games - and we have to work to improve."