home      service centre   |   publications   |   football family   |   competitions   

Thompson backs Heskey for World Cup challenge

© Reuters 2002

LEEDS, England, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Liverpool assistant manager Phil Thompson has backed Emile Heskey to partner Michael Owen in attack for England at the World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

Thompson believes Heskey and Owen's understanding, developed through their partnership for Liverpool, means Heskey is currently ahead of his rivals for a starting place when England begin their World Cup finals campaign against Sweden on June 2.

Speaking to reporters after Liverpool's 4-0 English premier league win over Leeds on Sunday, in which Heskey and Owen both scored, Thompson said: "I don't see any problem with Michael Owen and Emile Heskey.

"They have played together a long time for Liverpool. It won't be a problem for them to play together for England as well, because they know each other's game so well.

"Of course, there will be other contenders, but the fact that they are playing so regularly at club level as well will tip the balance in their favour."

Heskey, 24, was criticised for his lack of goals after failing to score for 14 games before finding the net against his old club Leicester last week.

But his brace against Leeds took his tally to three in two matches and Thompson insisted he never questioned Heskey's contribution for Liverpool.

Thompson added: "I keep having to champion the cause of Emile. If people knew a little bit more about the game I shouldn't have to.

"He has been outstanding for us all season. Even when we were at the top he was playing an exceptional part, despite not scoring.

"He has never hidden and his performances have been fantastic for the club and the rest of his team mates."

Reports provided by

Monday, 11 February
England wait on Beckham and Gerrard fitness
Belgium's Mpenza, Valgaeren out of Norway friendly
Beckham hopes to be fit for Dutch test
Bulgaria coach vows new tactics against Croatia
Lemerre has not ruled Anelka out yet
European-based trio strengthen Ecuador
Trapattoni looking to experiment against U.S.
Barthez pulls out of Romania friendly
McCarthy signs two-year Ireland deal
Sunday, 10 February
Bulgaria's Ivanov to miss friendly against Croatia
Injured Ronaldo to stay in Brazil
Zurawski double secures Poland win over Faroes
Cameroon swap chaos for German efficiency
Proud Beckham says captaincy has improved him
Friday, 8 February
Mbomba confident of recovering in time for final
Mali president apologises to Cameroon players
Nigerian fans demand team overhaul
Izzet moves closer to Turkey call-up
Croatia's injured Maric not to be replaced - coach
England v Italy friendly is Elland Road sell-out
South Koreans train ahead of Uruguay game
Thursday, 7 February
Dunn wants England chance against Dutch
Baggio leaves clinic after cruciate ligament op
Hedman not threatened by debutant
Sagnol wins call-up for French squad
Swedish international Svensson injured
Wednesday, 6 February
Djalminha steers Brazil rookies to win over Saudis
Italy decide to play Uruguay rather than Australia
McAteer looking forward to Ireland friendly
Congo midfielder banned after Nations Cup dismissal
Surgery fears eased for Ecuador's Delgado
Underdogs Mali face biggest match in 30 years
Tuesday, 5 February
Moldova appoints new coach to boost Euro 2004 hopes
Sweden call up three uncapped players
Norway hope for Argentina but eye alternatives
Confident Mali close in on African Nations Cup glory
Weary Brazil to face Saudi Arabia
Egypt's Ramzy puts retirement on hold
Two uncapped Danes in squad v Saudi Arabia
Queiroz confident of keeping South Africa job
Future unclear for injured Baggio
Thuram eager to get back with "Les Bleus"
Poland call up Rasiak as injury toll rises

  Copyright © 1994-2002 FIFA. All rights reserved.
  Copyright © 1994-2002 En-Linea, Inc. All rights reserved.