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Page last updated at 16:14 GMT, Friday, 17 October 2008 17:14 UK

Heskey open to Liverpool return

Emile Heskey
Heskey has scored five goals in 50 appearances for England

England striker Emile Heskey has responded to reports of a January move to Liverpool by saying it would be "lovely" to re-sign for his old club.

Heskey, whose contract with Wigan expires next summer, has experienced a resurgence in form this season.

The 30-year-old told BBC Radio 5 Live that he is "keeping my options open".

When asked about a return to Liverpool, for whom he made 150 appearances from 2000 to 2004, he said: "It would be lovely. We'll see how it goes."

The former Leicester City striker has become a permanent fixture in Fabio Capello's England team, receiving plaudits from team-mates and fans alike for his performances during England recent victories over Kazakhstan and Belarus.

The forward's form led to him saying this week that he has a desire to play Champions League football.

And his international revival has reportedly sparked interest from Liverpool and a number of other Premier League clubs.

"When you're performing well, speculation is going to come around," added Heskey, who is doubtful for Wigan's Premier League match against Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday having returned from international duty with an injury.

It's great that we've got an England centre-forward playing for Wigan. Of course, the 'paper speculation now is that he's leaving us - that's the downside of it

Steve Bruce

"Everyone knows I'm in my last year of my contract so you've just got to take everything with a pinch of salt and carry on playing.

"I'm going to keep my options open and give 110% for Wigan and see how it goes and maybe sit down with them."

With a scoring rate of roughly one in every five games for Leicester, Liverpool, Birmingham and now Wigan, the forward has been derided in the past for his lack of potency in front of goal.

But since returning from three years in the international wilderness last year Heskey's combative and selfless style have won over many of his critics, even if his goalscoring rate has not improved.

Wigan manager Steve Bruce said Heskey was benefitting from experience and improved fitness levels.

"It's quite staggering what's happened to him over the last few weeks, and I think a lot of it's got to come down to the condition that Emile's got himself in," said Bruce.

"He's possibly in the best condition he's been in all his life; he's obviously enjoying his football and he's reaping the rewards of it.

606: DEBATE
LAValencia

"It would be wrong for me to take the plaudits. He's got to a stage where you know how to look after yourself - I think (Wigan captain) Mario Melchiot is the same, and certainly I was when I got to 31.

"His physical condition is magnificent. He's been like that for a good while but not been tip-top like he is right now."

Bruce added: "The kid's been a kicking block for years - but to have the mental strength to come through it and play his part is fantastic for him and a club like ours, who have played a big part in his rehabilitation.

"It's great that we've got an England centre-forward playing for Wigan. Of course, the 'paper speculation now is that he's leaving us - that's the downside of it - but everybody involved with the club is delighted for him."

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see also
Selfless Heskey makes England tick
16 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Liverpool 3-2 Wigan
17 Oct 08 |  Premier League
Belarus 1-3 England
15 Oct 08 |  Internationals
England 5-1 Kazakhstan
11 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Croatia fine not enough - Heskey
09 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Croatia 1-4 England
10 Sep 08 |  Internationals


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