Home Football Premier League Heroes: Emile Heskey

Premier League Heroes: Emile Heskey

Emile Heskey’s name has been famous in the footballing world for a long time but is also a name that has hit the headlines recently as he signed for Bolton Wanderers recently and scored on his debut.

Heskey is now in the eighteenth year of his professional football career which is an outstanding accomplishment for any striker and is an achievement which demands the utmost respect in the world of football. Heskey started his Premier League at local side Leicester City where he spent five seasons and managed to win a League Cup in 1997 and again in 2000 before an £11m move to Liverpool in 2000.

Heskey hit the peak of his career at Liverpool as he managed to win two League Cups, an FA Cup, a UEFA Cup, a Super Cup and a Charity Shield during his four years at Anfield. The English striker moved on to Birmingham in 2004 where he spent two years before moving on to Wigan Athletic in 2006 for £5.5m after Birmingham got relegated. Heskey spent two and a half seasons at Wigan before moving on to Aston Villa which was his last Premier League club. In total, Heskey scored 110 Premier League goals in 516 appearances.

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Leicester City

Heskey was snapped up by Leicester at the age of nine and worked his way through their youth system before making his full debut for the club on the 8th of March 1995 against QPR aged 17. Leicester were unfortunately relegated from the Premier League but Heskey played an important role in their return to the Premier League in the 95/96 season. Heskey scored 10 times in the 96/97 season and managed to score the equaliser in the League Cup final against Middlesbrough which Leicester managed to win in the replay. Heskey continued to be consistent for Leicester in the 97/98 season as he scored 10 league goals which attracted interest from Spurs and Leeds but he committed his future to the side he had promoted. The striker’s form dipped in the 98/99 season as he only managed six league goals but his unselfish style of play helped him strike up a formidable partnership with Tony Cottee. Martin O’Neill claimed that the pairing was in fact what saved Leicester from being relegated that season. Heskey scored 7 times in 23 appearances for his club in the 99/00 season but also managed to win another League Cup with Leicester as they defeated Tranmere 2-1 in the final.

Liverpool

Heskey joined Liverpool in March of 2000 for £11m which was a record fee for Liverpool. Legendary Liverpool striker Ian Rush approved of the signing by claiming that Heskey would “give Liverpool a different dimension by bringing strength to the their strike force and complementing Owen and Robbie Fowler’s pacey play”. Heskey scored his first Liverpool goal against Coventry City on April 1st 2000 and went on to score two more before the end of the season. Heskey scored a personal best 14 goals in his first season at Anfield and enjoyed a wonderful season at Liverpool as he was part of the squad that won the League Cup, UEFA Cup and FA Cup and even managed to start ahead of Robbie Fowler in the FA Cup final against Arsenal. Heskey also played a key part in Liverpool’s Super Cup win as he scored in their 3-2 victory against Bayern Munich. Heskey continued his goal scoring in the 01/02 season netting 9 goals as Liverpool finished second in the league. Heskey’s unselfish play as well as his work ethic impressed other clubs and he was linked to Spurs in December 2002 but Liverpool boss Houllier rubbished such rumours. Heskey scored 9 goals in all competitions in the 02/03 season and was criticised for his low goal scoring return but he also made the headlines for his actions off the field as he donated a six figure sum to a consortium led by Gary Lineker to buy out Leicester City who were experiencing serious financial troubles. Heskey won the League Cup again in the 02/03 season as Liverpool defeated Manchester United 2-0 in the final. The 03/04 season was Heskey’s last as a Liverpool player and he scored 11 goals in all competitions before facing stiff competition for his place in the first team from Milan Baros.

Birmingham City

Heskey signed for Birmigham for £3.5m and agreed a 5 year contract with the club in 2004. The striker made his debut against Portsmouth on the 14th of August 2004 and scored his first goal 10 days later in a win over Manchester City. Heskey was Birmingham’s top goal scorer in the 04/05 season with 11 goals in all competitions and was awarded the Club’s Player’s Player of the season award and the Fan’s Player of the Year award. The 05/06 season wasn’t as enjoyable for the forward as he picked up ankle injuries and was massively criticised by the Birmingham fans for his lack of goals as he only scored three times in a season where Birmingham were relegated.

Wigan Athletic

Birmingham made a £2m profit in selling Heskey to Wigan for £5.5m on the 7th of July 2006. Heskey’s Wigan debut came in a 2-1 loss to Newcastle United and he scored his first goal in a 1-0 win over Reading on the 26th of August 2006. Heskey scored 8 league goals which helped prevent Wigan from getting relegated as they avoided the drop on goal difference. Heskey missed huge chunks of the 07/08 season as he suffered a broken metatarsal and an ankle injury but his return led to an important equaliser against Chelsea which benefited Wigan massively whilst simultaneously dashing Chelsea’s hopes of lifting the Premier League. Heskey also scored an important equaliser against Tottenham which earned Wigan a critical point in the last seconds of the game. The English striker managed to score only three league goals in 20 league appearances in the 08/09 season including a goal in a 5-0 win over Hull City. Heskey unexpectedly sent out a message to Liverpool to come and get him by claiming a return to Anfield “would be lovely, we will see how it goes” but the move never materialised. Heskey scored his 100th Premier League goal on November 1st 2008 in a 2-1 win over Portsmouth but he unfortunately finished his time at Wigan by picking up a hamstring injury.

Aston Villa

Wigan boss Steve Bruce was adamant that Heskey would not be leaving Wigan but he did go on to sign for Villa on the 23rd of January 2009 for £3.5m. Heskey made his debut for Villa against Portsmouth scoring a 20 yard effort. His first ever goal scoring debut. However, he made 14 appearances for Aston Villa in the 08/09 season and scored only twice. Heskey scored 5 goals in all competitions in the 09/10 season making the most of his substitute appearances but sill under-performing overall. The following season, Heskey was reunited with former boss Gerard Houllier which seemed to improve his performances in the 10/11 season as he scored the winning goals in games against local rivals Wolves and West Brom but still only managed three league goals in the entire season. Heskey’s form began to get even worse in the 11/12 season as he scored only one goal which came against Blackburn. This turned out to be Heskey’s last season as a Premier League player as he was told at the end of the 11/12 season that Villa would not be renewing his contract.

Heskey signed for Australian A-League side Newcastle Jets on the 21st of September 2012 where he spent two years before returning to England to sign for Bolton Wanderers on the 24th of December 2014.

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