Emile Heskey has been recalled to the England squad as head coach Steve McClaren aims to beef up his forward options for the upcoming UEFA EURO 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Russia. Heskey has not played for England since he won the last of his 43 caps against France in the first round of EURO 2004, and he was not in the initial 26-man squad that McClaren named on Friday.
|England's coach Steve McClaren|
But the 29-year-old's good form for Wigan Athletic this season has caught McClaren's eye and the big forward could be in line to resume his former partnership with Michael Owen on the international stage, particularly as Peter Crouch is suspended for the Israel game at Wembledy on Saturday.
"Emile is a player with a lot of international experience and has played many times with Michael Owen in the past," McClaren said on Sunday. "He has been in good form for Wigan this season. He played very well against Sunderland recently and I saw him play well against Newcastle (on Saturday).
"While he has been out of the squad for a few years, I have spoken with Chris Hutchings who has been hugely impressed with him and I think he deserves to be recalled. We need his experience at this time."
Wigan boss Hutchings said Heskey full deserved his recall. "He is a brilliant professional, one of the best I've worked with," Hutchings said. "He is colossal and I have no doubt he will serve England well if Steve McClaren picks him for either of the games.
"I think it's a thoroughly deserved call-up because he has been playing out of his skin. His team-mates will be as chuffed as I am."