Paul Jewell believes that Emile Heskey can 'ram his critics' words down their throats' if he gets another England chance.
The Wigan striker has been recalled to the England squad for the Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Russia and could partner Michael Owen in attack.
Jewell, who signed Heskey for Wigan, said: 'Hopefully Emile will get his chance and score a goal or two because a lot of unfair things have been said about him and he's a top-class footballer, and a top-class guy.
'He has been an easy target for some supporters and some so-called experts but you ask Michael Owen what he thinks of playing alongside him.
'Hopefully he will ram it down those people's throats.'
Jewell pointed out that Heskey had played a leading role in perhaps England's greatest result of recent years - the 5-1 win over Germany in Munich back in 2001.
He added: 'People forget about that but he scored a goal and created all sorts of problems for the Germans and showed what a top-class player he is.'
Heskey's Wigan team-mate Antoine Sibierski said Heskey could make all the difference for England.
Sibierski said: 'I was delighted when he was called into the squad because he deserves it and he is the sort of player that England may need to improve to get some better results.
'If you look at every striker who has played alongside Emile Heskey they've all scored a lot of goals. You know he's not going to score 20 goals a season himself but he will give many balls to the other strikers to let them score instead.
'I hope he does well and England does well because he deserves it.'