Heskey can play a key role - Houllier

25 September 2010 10:22
Gerard Houllier believes Aston Villa will reap the benefits of Emile Heskey's decision to quit international football with England.[LNB] And new Villa boss Houllier is backing the often maligned Heskey, who stepped down in the aftermath of the World Cup, to play a major role for the midlands club.[LNB]Heskey impressed as a substitute during the midweek Carling Cup win over Blackburn, scoring once and setting up two goals for Ashley Young in a 3-1 success.[LNB]He was often used as a substitute under Martin O'Neill but could come into contention to start Sunday's derby encounter at Wolves.[LNB]Houllier said: "He decided to stop his international career so now it means he can repeat games for us.[LNB]"The whole England team suffered (received criticism) for what happened in South Africa.[LNB]"But, if you remember the game against Germany, and I was at it, if the goal from Lampard had been allowed it would have been 2-2 at half-time.[LNB]"Sometimes things go your way, sometimes they don't, but whatever you say about Emile he is a good man and a good player.[LNB]"I read a few things about what he said when he retired and it's very sensible what he said, that his time has gone now, he's 32-33, there are some young players coming through.[LNB]"Emile will be 100 per cent Villa and as the manager I am happy."[LNB]Houllier signed Heskey when Liverpool boss from Leicester a decade ago in an £11 million deal and has no doubt he can still be a major force.[LNB]He said: "All strikers need confidence. They need to feel they have the backing of the manager, club and the fans.[LNB]"Emile probably needs that more than the others. I saw him play on September 4 in Jamie Carragher's testimonial.[LNB]"Garry McAllister (Villa assistant-manager) was also involved in that game and he said Emile has still got something about him.[LNB]"Trust me, I think he will do well for us."[LNB]Houllier insisted strengthening the striking department was not a first priority on his agenda.[LNB]He said: "We have got three strikers in Agbonlahor, Carew and Emile. I don't think we have to sign another.[LNB]"If we have to sign a player now, it won't be in that area."[LNB]Houllier is confident his side have the physical presence to match Wolves even if his side are not the biggest in terms of physical stature.[LNB]He said: "I've seen them on the video. They are a good side.[LNB]"They seem to play, will be good opposition, physical as always with the English game. It will be a very competitive game.[LNB]"The Premier League has got more physical.[LNB]"It is not about a matter of size. You need size in some positions but is also a matter of commitment and physical commitment. We have that."[LNB]Agbonlahor is winning his fitness battle after resuming training. He suffered two tight calves against Blackburn and was substituted during the first half.[LNB]Midfielder Stephen Ireland is also on course to play after resuming training following a dead leg.[LNB]But central defender Richard Dunne is again sidelined with a knee problem although Houllier is optimistic he can return against Tottenham next weekend.

Source: Team_Talk