Born in Leicester in 1978 to parents of Antiguan decent, Emile Heskey made a name for himself as one of England’s hottest prospects representing his country at U-16, U-18 and U-21 level. Rising through the ranks at hometown club Leicester City making his first team debut in 1995, his only Premier League appearance for 15 months as Leicester were relegated to then Division 1 in May 1995. Bouncing straight back up the following year and by this point Heskey had earned himself a place in the Foxes starting XI, Heskey went on to score 10 goals in 35 games in back to back Premier League Seasons in 96/97 and 97/98. Heskey scored the equaliser in the 1997 League Cup final against Middlesbrough, a trophy Leicester went on to win after a replay.
The 98/99 season wasn’t all fun and games for Emile as his struggled to convert his chances only scoring 6 goals in 30 Premier League games. The following season saw Heskey and Leicester win the League Cup for a 2nd time in 3 years beating Wirrall club Tranmere Rovers 2-1 in the final. 12 days after the cup triumph in the days where clubs could sign players whenever they wanted, Liverpool Football Club broke their record transfer fee to secure Heskey’s services in an £11 million deal.
Fast forward 12 years and Emile Heskey found himself heading down under to play for Newcastle Jets; a succession of injuries and a lack of goals had turned a potential England hero into the laughing stock of the country. None more so than at the 2010 World Cup, after an injury to Rio Ferdinand in training ruled the Manchester United Centre back out of the tournament, England found themselves 4-1 down in a huge last 16 clash against Germany, the whole nation watched hoping Peter Crouch would be brought off the bench to try and restore some pride, however Fabio Capello turned to Emile Heskey, a man who had only scored 3 goals in 31 Premier League games in the season leading up to the tournament. What followed the tournament was a series of jokes aimed at the England Striker including “has Heskey scored on twitter” which has since been removed and my personal favourite 10 reasons Heskey is better than Lionel Messi. All this a far cry from his recording breaking signing for Liverpool.
Heskey’s Liverpool career got off to a flying start, after completing his move of the 10th March 2000 Heskey made his debut the day after in a 1-1 draw against Sunderland. He scored his first goal on 1st April 2000 rounding off a 3-0 victory for the Reds at Coventry’s Highfield Road. His first full season at Anfield saw Heskey net 22 times in 56 games in league, cup and Europe, these goals helped Liverpool to a remarkable cup treble etching his name in the Liverpool history books as part of one of the clubs several special squads.
Heskey’s goal to game ratio was questioned in his final 3 seasons at Anfield with the striker only netting 35 goals in 155 games. However his unselfish style of play meant that he retained his place in the team despite the lack of goals. Heskey left Liverpool for Birmingham City in a £3.5 million deal at the end of the 04/05 season following the emergence of Milan Baros in the Liverpool team.
Emile Heskey will always be remembered for the end of his career which is a real tragedy, after playing a vital role in one of Liverpool most successful seasons since the inception of the Premier League, helping the club to achieve a unique cup treble, a feat which has only been managed by one club and one club only.