Birthdate: 11 January 1978
Birthplace: Leicester, England
Other clubs:Leicester City (1987-2000), Birmingham City (2004-06), Wigan Athletic (2006-09), Aston Villa (2009-12), Newcastle Jets (2012-14), Bolton Wanderers (2014-16)
Bought from:Leicester City
Signed for LFC:£11m, 10.03.2000
International debut:28.04.1999 vs.Hungary
International caps:62/7 (35/5 at LFC) - 27.06.2010
Liverpool debut: 11.03.2000
Last appearance: 15.05.2004
Debut goal: 01.04.2000
Last goal: 08.05.2004
Contract expiry: 18.05.2004
Win ratio: 52.47% W:117 D:56 L:50
Games/goals ratio: 3.72
Honours: FA Cup 2001; League Cup 2001, 2003; UEFA Cup 2001
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 18 / 0
LFC league games/goals: 150 / 39
Total LFC games/goals: 223 / 60
Player profileEmile Ivanhoe Heskey made his Premiership debut as a 17-year-old for Leicester City against QPR in March 1995. Leicester were relegated that spring but under the guidance of new manager Martin O'Neill went straight back up to the top division. Heskey scored ten goals in 35 games in his first whole season in the Premier League in 1996/97 and boasted exactly the same stats the following season. Heskey's agent had already started to complain about Leicester's lack of ambition and predicted that his client would at best stay there until he was 22-years-old. Liverpool's name was linked constantly with him in the press. Roy Evans has since gone on record to say that he had wanted to sign him around this time. Heskey's contract was due to expire in the summer of 1999, but O'Neill managed to convince the player to sign up for one more year. O'Neill had immense faith in Heskey and he repaid it as by the halfway through the 1998/99 season he had scored nine goals compared with the ten he had scored in the whole of the season before. But Heskey had scored his last goal of that campaign and went twenty games without a goal. He complained of back problems and was forced to be substituted in many games because of his condition. Leicester slid down the table. Heskey was back to his best in April after strengthening his back muscles and Leicester started getting some better results. Kevin Keegan gave Heskey his long-awaited England debut and despite intense speculation about his future another year was added to his club contract.
Heskey began the 1999/2000 season strongly, scoring five goals in his first four Premiership games. It seemed to be an open secret that Liverpool would buy him before the season was over. O'Neill replied to the speculation in his own unique style: "If Liverpool were to come in with £7 million and we get double that offer from Barcelona, I will taxi him over to Spain myself." Heskey made his full England debut on 22 February 2000 and he was voted man of the match against Argentina. A few days later he won the League Cup for the second time in his Leicester career. He scored his ninth goal of the season against Sunderland on 5 March and signed a contract with Liverpool a few days later, becoming their most expensive player at £11 million. Heskey left the Foxes behind with a contribution of 197 games and 46 goals. Houllier had seen Owen and Heskey play together up front with the England Under-18 team in France and there's no denying that he was clearly a favourite of his new boss. "He’s a diamond of a player, he embodies all the right qualities of a professional footballer," Houllier said. "He’s very hard-working, sacrifices himself for the team. He’s always decisive because he’s so strong." Heskey was in the best form of his career in his first full season at Liverpool, netting 22 goals from 56 matches in the historic "Treble" season. He terrorised defences with his pace and power, using his body as a battering ram. Houllier still demanded more from Heskey. "He has to keep pressing the pedal because, if he does that, he has great potential and can become a fantastic player. I believe Emile is showing only 50 or 60 per cent of what he can do. All of my forwards have great ability but they all have room for improvement. What can Emile do to improve? Well, at times he should probably have more self-belief and confidence in front of goal. Yes, he has scored 20 goals for us and one goal for England this season. But he has missed a lot of chances as well - it should be more." Heskey started the 2001/02 season promisingly but a dry spell of one goal in 32 matches was hardly worthy of an England international and the club's record buy. However, Liverpool were still going strong in the League and finished second. The 2002/03 and 2003/04 were seasons better forgotten about for Heskey and his once-promising Liverpool career ended when he was sold to Birmingham City in May 2004. Heskey did have all the attributes, but ultimately his apparent lack of belief in his capabilities let him down.
Heskey was getting closer to his normal level with Birmingham in his debut season but in his sophomore campaign he only contributed four goals from 34 League appearances as the Blues were relegated. Some of the fans seemed to turn against him and all these factors led to a move to Wigan Athletic in July 2006. His stay there followed a familiar pattern by now, he had a promising debut season, but then faded away. Heskey was a regular in England's senior international squad during his Liverpool days but was often left out when he was playing for less fashionable clubs. Although he was named in the England squad for Euro 2004, he did not make the trip to Germany for the World Cup two years later. In 2010 he played in his sixth League Cup final; he had appeared in three for Leicester, two for Liverpool and was now representing Aston Villa. This time around Manchester United deprived him of a fifth winners' medal. On 3 December 2011 Heskey made his 500th Premier League appearance becoming only the sixth player to have reached that milestone, after Ryan Giggs, David James, Gary Speed, Sol Campbell and Jamie Carragher. For the five English clubs Heskey has represented, he has in total scored about 150 goals but still it is a question what could have been as he never fulfilled his enormous potential. "Emile is someone who needs his own confidence to be up, and at the moment it is suffering a bit. But you have to accept that the players are human beings," Houllier said as he revealed the crux of the problem with Emile. At the end of the 2011/12 season Aston Villa announced that they would not be renewing his contract. So the striker, now thirty-four years old, became a free agent and joined Newcastle Jets in Australia's A-League.
Heskey played in twenty-three A-League matches for the Newcastle Jets in 2012/13, scoring nine times. In the following season, 2013/14, he made 18 appearances in Australia's A-League for the Jets but only scored one goal. Heskey passed his 36th birthday mid-way through this season.
On Christmas Eve 2014 Heskey signed a short-term contract with Championship club Bolton Wanderers when only a couple of weeks short of his 37th birthday. He was immediately included in the squad for Bolton's match against Blackburn Rovers on Boxing Day, came on as a substitute at the start of the second half and scored his first Bolton goal a quarter of an hour later. He was then offered an extension for 2015/16 but it was a miserable season for him and the club. They finished bottom of the table and in fifteen starts and fifteen sub appearances Heskey scored only twice. He was released at the end of his contract and as at 18th July 2016 he was still looking for another club.
Appearances per season
A more detailed look at the player's appearances
|5||West Ham United|
Goals per season
A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring
|1||West Ham United|
|1||European Super Cup|
|Total||Goal minute period|
|50||03.03.2001||Leicester City||Filbert Street||League|
|100||05.01.2002||Birmingham City||Anfield||FA Cup|
|200||04.01.2004||Yeovil Town||Huish Park||FA Cup|
|1||78||01.04.2000||Coventry City||Highfield Road||League|
An article by Chris Bascombe at Liverpool Echo on 10th March 2000.More
Liverpool Echo article from 3rd of February 2000.More
The Guardian report on Liverpool - Charlton on 02.12.2000.More
Liverpool Echo report on Liverpool - Leicester on 21.10.2000.More
Liverpool Echo report on Derby County - Liverpool on 15.10.2000.More
Liverpool Echo report on Liverpool - Bradford on 19.08.2000. More
Liverpool Daily Post report on Liverpool - Sunderland on 11.03.2000.More
"He can play several positions up front and sacrifice himself for the team. You win things when you have players of the calibre of Emile Heskey. I signed Emile because of these qualities. He’s a diamond of a player, he embodies all the right qualities of a professional footballer. He’s very hard-working, sacrifices himself for the team. He’s always decisive because he’s so strong."
"Emile is someone who needs his own confidence to be up, and at the moment it is suffering a bit. But you have to accept that the players are human beings. I know he does not always like being on the left, but people know how to defend against him now when he's up front."
Houllier in December 2002
"My uncle supported Liverpool when I was really young. I was around him a lot and I suppose he influenced me. I have followed them ever since."
Heskey on his arrival at LFC
"Another strong, silent type who prefers to let his football do his talking. He is known around the club as Ivanhoe — that’s his middle name and the lads take great delight in reminding him of it."
Owen in 2001 on Emile I. Heskey
"My priority has always been to get my best players to stay at this club. I will tell you this, though, if Liverpool were to come in with £7m and we get double that offer from Barcelona, I will taxi him over to Spain myself. Whatever, it will be Emile Heskey's choice in the end."
Martin O' Neill on Emile Heskey in December 1999, four months before Heskey joined Liverpool for 11 million pounds
"Wherever you play it is an incentive to be up there with the great strikers of the past. So what I am trying to do at Liverpool is hopefully match the achievements of Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush. I was also a huge fan of John Barnes as a youngster and always wanted to be like him. It is a dream of mine to go on and become a Liverpool legend. I was a Liverpool fan as a kid and what we have done so far this season has been brilliant. I want to be successful here and I believe we can be with the squad we have."
Emile Heskey in May 2001
|Club||Season||Club rank||League apps||League goals||Total apps||Total goals|
|Leicester City||1994-1995||England Premier League||1||0||1||0|
|Leicester City||1995-1996||England First Division||30||7||35||7|
|Leicester City||1996-1997||England Premier League||35||10||47||12|
|Leicester City||1997-1998||England Premier League||35||10||39||10|
|Leicester City||1998-1999||England Premier League||30||6||40||9|
|Leicester City||1999-2000||England Premier League||23||7||35||8|
|Birmingham City||2004-2005||England Premier League||34||10||38||11|
|Birmingham City||2005-2006||England Premier League||34||4||40||5|
|Wigan Athletic||2006-2007||England Premier League||34||9||36||9|
|Wigan Athletic||2007-2008||England Premier League||28||4||30||4|
|Wigan Athletic||2008-2009||England Premier League||20||3||22||3|
|Aston Villa||2008-2009||England Premier League||14||2||14||2|
|Aston Villa||2009-2010||England Premier League||31||3||42||5|
|Aston Villa||2010-2011||England Premier League||19||3||25||6|
|Aston Villa||2011-2012||England Premier League||28||1||29||1|
|Newcastle Jets||2012-2013||Australia 1||23||9||23||9|
|Newcastle Jets||2013-2014||Australia 1||18||1||18||1|
|Bolton Wanderers||2014-2015||England Championship||12||1||14||1|