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Emile Heskey
"If they hadn't come in for me, I'd have stayed at Leicester"
 real 28k

Gerard Houllier
"He will be involved at some stage on Saturday"
 real 28k

Martin O'Neill
"Emile should achieve a lot at Liverpool"
 real 28k

Ex-Liverpool player Mark Lawrenson
"Heskey should be scoring at a better rate"
 real 28k

Friday, 10 March, 2000, 17:46 GMT
Heskey shrugs off record fee

Gerard gets his man: Houllier and Heskey
Liverpool's new signing Emile Heskey has dismissed his club record 11m transfer fee and insisted: "I just want to get on with my football."

The England frontman was unveiled on Friday as Anfield's new attacking idol, after completing a long-anticipated move from Leicester.

A lot of people should be happy that I am not signing a foreign player. I know the way he plays and fights on the field and he will do that for the red shirts.

Gerard Houllier
Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier was full of praise for his first home-grown signing - but has already insisted that the 11m striker is "not the finished product".

Heskey is expected to make his debut against Sunderland on Saturday - although he is likely to be named on the bench.

Leicester boss Martin O'Neill had earlier said he was "bitterly disappointed" to lose the 22-year-old, who becomes the third most expensive player in English football.

Houllier said he sympathised with his Filbert Street counterpart, but warned that Heskey still had a lot of progress to make.

"I understand why Leicester wanted to keep the player - because of what he represented to them," the Anfield chief said.

Heskey will wear the Liverpool No.8 shirt
"You take a player because he is a talent and because you think he will work out well for the team.

"The good thing is that he knows a lot of our players. I think at his age he is not the finished product. Like every player here he will want to progress and improve.

"You take players not for the number of goals they score but for the role they can play for the team. He is English and an international player.

Dream move

Heskey, who had been linked with Liverpool for most of the season, confirmed that the Merseyside club had long been his number one target.

The price has nothing to do with me. I have come here to train hard and try to produce the goods.

Emile Heskey
"I told the Martin O'Neill that there were only a couple of clubs I wanted to go to," he said.

"If those clubs had not come in for me I would have stayed at Leicester.

"I looked at who was playing here. There are world class players in midfield,at the back and in goal as well as up front and I wanted to be a part of it."

Martin O'Neill says he is sad to see Heskey go
Heskey added that he was particularly looking forward to developing a mouthwatering partnership with fellow England striker Michael Owen.

"I have played with a lot of forwards and we have bonded together and that includes Michael Owen," he said.

"I found it an exciting prospect to play alongside Michael. I did think about my England future when I came here but I still got my chance at Leicester.

"I have to wait and see about England and the European Championship."

There will now be speculation as to what I will do with the money but as far as I am concerned Emile is irreplaceable.

Leicester boss Martin O'Neill
Leicester boss O'Neill had said he was unhappy with the timing of the transfer of Heskey, a player he described as "irreplaceable".

O'Neill said: "We as a club did everything we could to persuade Emile to stay with us for as long as possible.

"But it was his insistence that the deal had to go through before this weekend.

"The club had been negotiating terms which we felt would keep him here, really pushing the boat out to show how much we valued him as a player with us. But apparently it was not enough.

"I believe our players will be as bitterly disappointed as I am at Emile's decision, coming as it does when we have just won a trophy, are looking towards Europe and had put together the strongest squad in the club's history."

Heskey's move eclipses Liverpool's previous record fee of 8.5m paid to Nottingham Forest for Stan Collymore.

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See also:

10 Mar 00 | Football
Heskey's 11m burden
10 Mar 00 | FA Carling Premiership
Sunderland facing familiar foe
09 Mar 00 | FA Carling Premiership
Liverpool agree fee for Heskey
09 Mar 00 | Football
Di Canio fined 5,000
28 Feb 00 | FA Carling Premiership
We won't let Heskey go - O'Neill
27 Feb 00 | Football
First Wembley, now for Europe
27 Feb 00 | Football
Wembley showpiece under way
26 Feb 00 | Football
I've said nothing - Heskey
Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.