Capello stands by forgotten Heskey
Tuesday 01 September 2009
Emile Heskey has fallen down the pecking order at Aston Villa in their last two league games to the extent that he is now the third-choice striker in a team that only uses one at any time but Fabio Capello is determined to play him in England's friendly against Slovenia on Saturday and the World Cup qualifier against Croatia four days' later.
Heskey, 31, was part of the England squad that had their first training session of the week together yesterday at London Colney although he, like the other players whose teams were in action on Sunday, was excused from the main session. Heskey has held his place in the squad despite making only a 10-minute substitute appearance against Liverpool last Monday.
Capello's usual rule is that players who are out of contention with their club sides should not be considered. His devotion to Heskey as the centre-forward in his side to complement Wayne Rooney, however, is so deep-rooted that the England manager is prepared to overlook the player being left out of the team on Sunday.
The Capello camp believe that Heskey is simply the unlucky victim of a tactical switch by Martin O'Neill after Villa's opening day defeat to Wigan. Since then O'Neill has abandoned the 4-4-2 system in favour of the 4-5-1 that was used to such effect at the start of last season with Heskey omitted.
The striker did play a full 80 minutes in the team in a Europa League qualifier on Thursday but that was in order to rest Gabriel Agbonlahor between Premier League games.
Agbonlahor continues to be overlooked by Capello who picked five strikers in his 24-man squad for the next ten days in order to look at as many players as possible now that he has his squad for such an extensive international break.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal vs Manchester United report: Wayne Rooney and a Kieran Gibbs own goal make Gunners rue missed chances
Chelsea vs West Brom: Jose Mourinho turns on ‘Dr Sergio Ramos’ in Spanish spat
Prince Harry leads the congratulations for Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi, calling him 'an absolute legend' as he crossed the finish line
WWE Survivor Series 2014: What time does the event start? And full card
Arsenal vs Manchester United player ratings: Who was the star man? Wayne Rooney or David De Gea?
- 1 Universities aren't working us hard enough, say undergraduates
- 2 Lego letter from the 1970s still offers a powerful message to parents 40 years later
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'