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Emile Heskey

Emile Heskey

England tactics were wrong – Emile Heskey Q&A

Tags: England, Sony Handycam ®

Welcome to my live World Cup chat. Please send me your question via social media using #AskHeskey

Topics for discussion will include England’s performance against Uruguay, and Spain’s shock exit from the tournament and any other big talking points from Brazil. Please refresh the page to update as Emile answers live…

@Ian Luccavelli 
What’s the problem of #England and #Spain in this #WorldCup2014? #AskHeskey coach? Players?

Emile says:

Starting with England, the tactics were not right. We defended badly, we did not get close enough to them in defence. Balotelli running off the back of the defender, Suarez, running off the back of the defender were examples of this. It meant the centre-halves were exposed because the full-backs were out of position.

In terms of tactics, Italy were better, really slowing the game down when they needed to do. England played at too fast a pace.

Too many players were out of position, in particular Rooney on the left. Sterling could have played there. I think Sturridge merited playing as a centre-forward but I would probably have played another player rather than Welbeck out of position.

Formations can be changed throughout the game so the tactics are more to blame than the formation.

Spain were world champions. They play the best football but they were unlucky with the group. The gap is closing, on their day both Netherlands and Chile are very strong sides and it showed. I fancied Chile to do well before the tournament and the conditions clearly favour South American sides.

Olatigbe Abidem Cole ‏
#AskHeskey do you think it was right to leave Frank Lampard on the bench?

Emile says:

I think it was right to leave him on the bench but it would have been good to bring him on in the Italy game when the score was level at 1-1. Frank is an experienced player at every level, I’ve played with him and have huge admiration for him. There was also a period in the Uruguay game when they were on top and an experienced head could have helped with that.

When I was a younger player with England, the likes of Tony Adams and Martin Keown talking to you was always priceless. Gerrard and Lampard would have done that for this England team regardless of whether they were starting.

abdul albasu

In your opinion do you think Roy Hodgson made the right selection for both matches?  If not who do you think should have played? #AskHeskey

Emile says:

With the squad that we had, it was the right back four. In the first game, I would have selected Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right, if he was fit, with Rooney behind Sturridge and Sterling on the left. Gerrard and Henderson would have been my choice in midfield.

For the second game, I would have gone with Wilshere over Henderson. He has the ability to keep the ball moving and see a killer pass. That could have made the difference.


Is it time for Gerrard to retire from international football? #AskHeskey

Emile says:

It is difficult decision and only one he can make. There are players coming through pushing for his place – Wilshere, Barkley, Henderson, Lallana. But he’s changed his position with a view to extending his career. He was all-out attack when I played with him. Most of our attacks came through him. Now he’s playing in a different position and he does it really well for Liverpool.

Tandean ‏@tandeaaann

#AskHeskey do you think England young players have made good performance so far? If yes, who is your top England young player?

Emile says:

Sterling was the top young player for England. He showed his true potential. You can’t build a team around one player but I would envisage him, Barkley, Henderson and Wilshere being key individuals for England for the next few years.

For the first game, Henderson justified his place but against Italy I that felt he did not play with the energy he plays with in the Premier League. Maybe it was the conditions.  I play in Australia and I know how much the heat can change things. In Australia, we have water breaks. FIFA should look at that with so many players going down with cramp because they were dehydrated.

Chuks fl3x ‏@ArsenalizedFl3x

Should Roy Hodgson be axed or spared after #Brazil14?

Emile says:

I think he should be spared until the next tournament to really push a new generation of players coming through. You can’t keep changing the manager after every tournament. Who else is there? There are no obvious candidates among the English managers.

I enjoyed playing under foreign managers but believe it is the right call to promote English talent for England. I think we should be grooming the best young English coaches for the future.

Steve Byrne ‏@nunoband

When are you going to be returning to the @england line up. We really need you big man #AskHeskey

Emile says:

I would love return but with the likes of Rickie Lambert and Andy Carroll, England are well represented with that mould of centre-forward. They have both been doing really well this season and Lambert, in particular, deserved his chance with England.

I was surprised that Liverpool signed Lambert given the way they play. I imagine the manager has a specific plan for him for specific games.

Playing in Europe is new for this Liverpool team so they will need a decent-sized squad. He’s a goalscorer, his hold-up play is great and that will help players like Countinho and Sterling.


Are you having fun in Australia? Are you sad they got knocked out by the Dutch?

Emile says:

I’m back in England and I’m looking for a new club, ideally in England. But I had great time in Australia, it’s a wonderful country with great people. The standard of football is getting better every year and more players from European leagues are heading out there.

I am sad the national team are out. I keep in touch with friends out there. The people are such sport fanatics and they will be disappointed that they are going home so soon.

Gav ‏@GGbarno 

Who is the toughest defender you’ve ever come up against Emile? #AskHeskey

Emile says:

I would say it’s Sol Campbell in England because of his size. We had some tough battles. As a solid defender, there were not many who got the better of him but I managed a couple of times!

Internationally, it was Walter Samuel. He was also big, strong and quick. A real tough competitor. Rio Ferdinand was a brilliant footballer and probably the most skilful defender I played against.

Joe SWFC Doc ‏@joenaldinho

Who’s the best player you played, in the PL with? #AskHeskey #legend

Emile says:

Steven Gerrard is the best I’ve played with in the Premier League. He started so many of our attacks and he was so quick with the ball that no one could catch him. He also had that speed and ability to get forward and score a goal.

For England, it was Paul Scholes. Even though David Beckham got the accolades for his passing, Scholes was just as gifted as a passer, if not more, and he had the ability to score from anywhere. He could not tackle but that was the only thing he could not do.

Oyeneyin Nasir Juwon ‏@OyeNasirJuwon

What’s your view of your former club Leicester City’s survival hopes in the EPL?

Emile says:

I think they’ve got a good chance. The Thai owners, King Power, have done a brilliant job with the club and have promised to pump more money in to help them stay in the league.

It’s a long road but I believe they can do it and mount an assault to get in the top half and stay there. Good luck to Nigel Pearson and the lads next season, I’ll be keeping a close eye on the results and hoping to make a few trips to see them play.

That is all we have time for now. Thanks for all your questions.

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