Heskey out to impress Capello

August 20, 2008

Emile Heskey will be looking to turn back the clock as he strives to stake an 11th-hour claim to be an integral part of Fabio Capello's World Cup plans.

Heskey was brought back into the international fold by Steve McClaren 12 months ago and formed an effective partnership with Michael Owen which took England to the brink of Euro 2008 qualification.

But he was injured for the finale of the campaign as England stumbled in Russia and at home to Croatia and missed out on the finals in Austria and Switzerland this summer.

Now the Wigan striker has been called up for the first time by Capello for tonight's final friendly international with the Czech Republic at Wembley before the opening two World Cup qualifiers with Andorra and Croatia.

Capello said: 'This is the last friendly before the qualifiers and there will not be a lot of experiments but I have the possibility to (get to ) know better some players like Emile Heskey.

'It is the first time I've picked him in the squad. I followed him last season for three or four games and he didn't play well and, for me, was not fit.

'But I saw his last game and he is fit now and looked in very good form. I think he is an interesting player but I must stress the door is not closed for Peter Crouch.'

Capello will demand his side plays with 'spirit and without fear' tonight as England look to hone their skills before the more important tasks ahead.

The former Real Madrid boss hinted whoever plays at Wembley is likely to be part of his side against the Andorrans in Barcelona.

He said: 'I have a squad and all the players are important. Tomorrow I will decide the first eleven - but it is the last friendly match before the qualifiers.

'What am I looking for? I want to see England play like a team with spirit and without fear and show big personality.

'This is very important for me. I want to see this. I want to see another step forward.'

John Terry, who has been confirmed as skipper by Capello, said: 'In the short of space we've had with the manager, he has stressed about having less anxiety and more confidence and we've done that.

'He wants us to express that even more. The manager wants us to play like we do for our clubs week in and week out and he is trying to get that across.'