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Emile Heskey
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Emile Heskey

Emile Ivanhoe Heskey, born 11 January 1978 in Evington, Leicester, England, is a professional football player for Birmingham City F.C and also for the English national team.

Heskey made his league debut for Leicester City in 1995, then made 30 appearances for the Foxes in 1995/96 - helping City earn promotion to the Premiership. He starred alongside Michael Owen in the England Under-18 team which finished third in the European Championships in France.

Heskey won his first major honour in English football when he helped Leicester to victory over Middlesbrough in the Worthington Cup final, repeated in 2000 with a 2-1 win against Tranmere Rovers and in 2001 when Liverpool defeated Birmingham City.

The towering striker made his England debut in a friendly against Hungary in Budapest in a 1-1 draw and on his first start, against Argentina at Wembley, he gave a performance which won him the Man of the Match award. That showing ensured he was in England's Euro 2000 squad. However his two substitute performances in the tournament were poor as England crashed out.

Considered one of football's 'nicest guys', Heskey joined Liverpool in April 2000 in an £11 million move that was one of the worst kept secrets in football. Heskey's move set the record transfer fee for the Merseyside club.

He made his Anfield debut in the Premiership clash with Sunderland and played well but the season finished with continuing doubts about his goalscoring prowess. During the 2000/01 season Heskey put an end to those scoring worries by smashing home 23 goals for the Reds and rocketing himself up the England pecking order.

He continued his scoring exploits against Spain in February 2001 when he scored one of England's three goals in the friendly victory. But Heskey was relegated to the bench for England's next match against Finland, although came on for the final 20 minutes of the game for Steve McManaman.

He has also played on the left-wing under Sven Goran Eriksson. He was restored to his forward role for the World Cup qualifier against Germany in September 2001 and scored the final goal in England's 5-1 victory in Munich. But he lost his scoring touch again during the 2001/02 season, but he still managed to score 14 goals for Liverpool.

One of Eriksson's favourites, he was selected in the squad for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea, and started in the left-wing role against Sweden, but looked far more effective when moved back into the forward line to partner Michael Owen. He netted against Denmark as England reached the quarter-finals, but many England fans do not believe he is the best option for England's attacking line.

And after scoring just nine goals in the 2002/03 season - and only five in the Premiership - his cause was not helped. Despite his critics Heskey continues to be an integral part of the squad and took over the captaincy from Michael Owen when England beat Serbia and Montenegro 2-1 in his hometown of Leicester in June 2003.

In the 2003/04 season Heskey faced increasing competition from Milan Baros as Michael Owen's strike partner. Despite this he scored 7 league goals and secured a place in the England squad for the 2004 European Championship tournament in Portugal.

At the end of the 2003/04 season, Heskey signed for Birmingham City F.C. for £6;6.25 million, as a replacement for the retiring Christophe Dugarry, thus becoming Birmingham's most expensive player.