Heskey head and shoulders above Crouch, says Bruce

Steve Bruce believes Emile Heskey deserves to be part of Sven Goran Eriksson's World Cup squad after claiming the Birmingham striker "is a better centre-forward than Peter Crouch". Heskey's chances of earning an England recall for the 2006 finals appear to be fading fast, with Eriksson admitting only three places are still available next summer.

The striker Crouch is clearly favoured by the Swede, despite a recent goal drought for Liverpool which only ended with two goals against Wigan this month. But Bruce points to the outstanding form which Heskey has been showing on a consistent basis since his £6m move from Anfield 19 months ago as a powerful argument for the inclusion of the 27-year-old, who won his last cap in the opening game of Euro 2004.

Heskey was Birmingham's player of the year last season, and has again shouldered the responsibility of at times being the only fit striker at Bruce's disposal.

"Emile has been immense," Bruce said. "He has led from the front, plays week in and week out and if something happened to him, heaven forbid what it would mean to us.

"You have to say Peter Crouch is in pole position with England - but it's a long time to the World Cup. Somebody usually comes from nowhere. In my opinion Emile Heskey is a better centre-forward than Peter Crouch. I don't think where we are in the league will affect his England chances. Every week people are going away and saying 'Emile Heskey played well' and I think playing in the Premiership whether at the top, middle or the bottom is a testament in itself.

"I think of his type there is nobody better in the country and I'm disappointed for Emile especially with the World Cup coming up, but there are six months to go. For us, he was our player of the year last season and people realise when they play against him how difficult he is to handle."

Birmingham will be looking to build on their first home win of the campaign against Fulham last Saturday when they visit Manchester City today. Bruce is relieved his side will not have to face the suspended Andy Cole and admitted he regretted not making a move to sign the veteran striker when he left Fulham in the summer.

"Coley has always done well against us and I had an opportunity," he said. "I thought about it long and hard because he has proved he has still got a huge pride. His performance against us at the start of the season was excellent.

"We were down the line with Mikael Forssell and I brought in Walter Pandiani in case anything happened to Emile. No one thinks of that scenario, but Pandiani's best games have been when Emile hasn't played."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests