Soccer: Jets confirm Heskey signing

Former England striker Emile Heskey. Photo / Getty Images.
Former England striker Emile Heskey. Photo / Getty Images.

The Newcastle Jets have confirmed the signing of former England international and Premier League star Emile Heskey as the club's marquee player for the 2012-13 A-League season.

The FA Cup, Football League Cup and UEFA Cup winner joins the Jets after playing 28 matches for Aston Villa in the English Premier League last season.

"To secure the signature of Emile is a fantastic result for the Jets and for the A-League," Jets chief executive Robbie Middleby said on Friday.

"Emile has played our game at the highest level in England, both internationally and domestically, and he finished last season playing with Aston Villa in the English Premier League.

"We are aware that Emile had other offers but he is genuinely excited to be a part of what we want to achieve at the Jets.

"He was particularly interested in our Emerging Jets Program as this is what most Premier League clubs have already established.

"Emile's relationship with former English Premier League players Michael Bridges and Robbie Fowler assisted him in understanding what the A-League has to offer."

Jets coach Gary van Egmond shares the sentiments of Middleby.

"Emile is someone who has unbelievable experience, having played for England 62 times," van Egmond said.

"His effectiveness in being able to hold the ball up and invite other players to play off him is going to be a big benefit to us.

"He's someone who can really lead the line and is exactly what we've been missing."

In total, the striker has made 516 Premier League appearances during a stellar 17-year career in England's top flight, scoring 110 goals.

The 34-year-old is best known for his time at Liverpool FC, where he played 150 league matches and found the back of the net on 39 occasions for the Reds during five seasons at the famous club.

Heskey scored 22 goals in all competitions when Liverpool won the FA Cup, Football League Cup and UEFA Cup treble in 2000-01.

As well as Aston Villa and Liverpool, Heskey has played for top English Clubs Leicester City, Birmingham City and Wigan Athletic.

Heskey also brings valuable international experience to the Jets, having represented England on 62 occasions and scoring seven goals.

He has played in two World Cups for the Three Lions, and played in every match of England's 2010 World Cup campaign in South Africa.

"This is an exciting new period in my life and I am looking forward to making a special contribution to the A-League and most importantly, to the Jets," Heskey said.

"I hope I can help grow football at the grassroots level and also provide advice to young players at the Jets.

"The season isn't far away, so I will be in Newcastle soon, training with my new teammates and be ready for kick off on October 7.

- AAP

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