Heskey's flying start provides a reminder to Eriksson

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The Independent Online

Muzzy Izzet, the Birmingham City midfielder, believes it is only a matter of time before team-mate Emile Heskey is given another chance by the England coach, Sven Goran Eriksson.

Muzzy Izzet, the Birmingham City midfielder, believes it is only a matter of time before team-mate Emile Heskey is given another chance by the England coach, Sven Goran Eriksson.

Heskey has not started a game for England since the friendly international with Denmark at Old Trafford last November. He has slipped down the pecking order with the emergence of Wayne Rooney and now Alan Smith after his summer move from Leeds to Manchester United.

But Izzet believes Heskey can force Eriksson to think again if he maintains the form he has shown since his £6.25m move from Liverpool.

After Heskey scored his first goal for Birmingham in the 1-0 win over Manchester City on Tuesday night, Izzet said: "I won't agree with people who say he is not international class. I think it is easy for people to say 'Emile wasn't good or Emile didn't score' and maybe he is the one who does get the criticism but I think it is unjust sometimes.

"If we play him right, and he plays to his strength and he scores goals, then England have got to have a look.

"It would be silly to write off Emile Heskey at international level. I don't think he has let anyone down and, given the chance again, he will do well."

Izzet believes Heskey has developed as a player since the duo were team-mates at Leicester four years ago. He said: "I think his overall game has come on but I still feel if you put the ball in the box, there is no-one better than him.

"Obviously there is Alan Shearer, who has been a fantastic player, but that's the sort of style that Emile possesses.

"You can compare him to an old style centre-forwards with balls into the box and aerially he is excellent, he's strong and he's quick. If you play him right, he is going to be dangerous."

Heskey praised the service he is receiving at Birmingham with both Stan Lazaridis and Jesper Gronkjaer firing crosses into the box. Heskey said: "It's nice to get that first goal out of the way. I probably should have got it on Saturday against Chelsea but their keeper made a good save.

"It was a great ball from Stan Lazaridis. He's been putting those in like that for the last couple of games and also in training. It's up to me to get on the end of them.

"Any striker thrives on crosses and service," he said, "and in this team you've got balls coming from both angles."

Heskey admitted he felt comfortable and happy with life at Birmingham after his four-year spell at Liverpool went sour towards the end.

"I don't think about Liverpool and what I might have left behind. I needed a fresh start and a new challenge and I've got it here at Birmingham.

"We're a club on the rise and after getting our first win we can relax a bit more and hopefully kick-on."

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