"St George" Heskey says don't buy foreign
But Heskey - middle name Ivanhoe - isn't trying to outdo Budget-setting Alistair Darling, or inflame the passions of middle England... he just thinks it takes time for foreigners to settle. WATCH THE VIDEO INTERVIEW HERE
Reflecting on a season in which a largely English Aston Villa side have threatened the hegemony of the alleged Big Four, he has acknowledged the impact of homegrown youngsters Ashley Young, Gabriel Agbonlahor and James Milner.
"Growing up and playing in this league, the lads know what it’s all about," explains Heskey. "A foreign player coming in, it probably takes him two or three years to adapt before coming into his own.”
And speaking in a video interview (available in FFT.com's ever-expanding interview archive) with his England badge firmly on his heart, the man identified as Fabio Capello's spearhead says things are looking up for the national game.
BRIGHT AND PROMISING
"If you look at the way we're playing, there's a bit more confidence in our game," says the striker of England's World Cup qualifying campaign. "With the young lads that we've got in the squad, the future looks bright and promising."
With Capello's men having won five out of five qualifiers, thoughts are turning to South Africa 2010 – and quite right too, thinks Heskey.
"When the World Cup comes around everyone gets excited,” he says. “When you go to a World Cup you’ve got to be full of enthusiasm and confident – and that’s what we are at the moment.
"You’ve seen in some of the games that we’ve played, we’ve been playing with some great flair.
“With the new manager coming in, he probably wants to change things a bit and obviously saw me as something who could fit in there which is nice.”
And Heskey will have his eyes on the prize at domestic level too, having moved to Villa to increase his chances of silverware.
"When you're a player you come into the game to win trophies and to develop your game," he says.
"I've won trophies but the hunger's still there and, no disrespect to Wigan, but Aston Villa is a bigger club and probably has more chances of winning more trophies.
"Wigan was a great place for me, I still speak to the lads, but I'm still looking for those trophies." Emile Heskey was speaking at the Team England Footballers Charity in association with WellChild UK. Emile was visiting the Wilson Stuart School and Sports College in Birmingham, which is an all age specialist school for children with a physical disability or a complex medical condition.