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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 September 2007, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
Heskey recalled to England squad
Emile Heskey
Heskey has been in the international wilderness for over three years
England coach Steve McClaren has called Wigan forward Emile Heskey into his squad for the Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Russia.

The Wigan striker won the last of his 43 caps against France at Euro 2004.

McClaren watched the 29-year-old in action for Wigan at Newcastle on Saturday and subsequently requested his release from the Latics.

"I think he deserves to be recalled. We need his experience at this time," said McClaren on the FA's website.

"Emile is a player with a lot international experience and has played many times with Michael Owen in the past.

"He's been in good form for Wigan this season, he played very well against Sunderland and I saw him play well against Newcastle.

I think it's a thoroughly deserved call-up because he has been playing out of his skin

Wigan boss Chris Hutchings

"While he has been out of the squad for a few years, I've spoken with [Wigan boss] Chris Hutchings who has been hugely impressed with him."

Peter Crouch is suspended for Saturday's encounter with Israel at Wembley, while Wayne Rooney has been sidelined with a broken bone in his foot.

Heskey was called into the squad under former coach Sven-Goran Eriksson for games against Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan in March 2005 but did not play.

He has scored just five times in his 43 appearances at international level, but has been tipped for a recall after some powerful Premier League displays this season.

Wigan manager Chris Hutchings has hailed Heskey as "colossal" and believes his recall is fully merited.

"This is not just tremendous personal news for Emile, but it's also fantastic for Wigan as a whole," said Heskey's boss Hutchings.

606: DEBATE
"He is a brilliant professional, one of the best I've worked with. He is colossal and I have no doubt he will serve England well if Steve McClaren picks him for either of the games.

"I think it's a thoroughly deserved call-up because he has been playing out of his skin. His team-mates will be as chuffed as I am."

McClaren was keen to bring in some muscle up front after watching Owen impress when partnered with Mark Viduka and Shola Ameobi for Newcastle.

The coach's other striking options for the game against Israel are Tottenham's Jermain Defoe, Andrew Johnson of Everton and Newcastle's Alan Smith - although there have been suggestions that winger Joe Cole could be used in a more attacking role.



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