Date: 9th September 2007 at 5:10pm
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Rio Ferdinand praised Emile Heskey’s contribution after the 3-0 win over Israel on Saturday.

The nation cried out ‘what the *?!#&!?’ when it was announced that Steve McClaren had decided to call up Emile Heskey to the England squad. The Wigan striker is not the most prolific attacker in the Premiership to say the least and some would argue that he lacks the talent and skill to play at international level but never mind, McClaren called him up.

And he was in the starting line-up, bloody hell, it was unbelievable. But, baffling as it is, he was not bad. He seemed to still have that understanding with Michael Owen up front and though he was very wasteful in front of goal, he certainly exceeded expectations. Rio hurried to praise him.

‘It was a really good team performance and I think we can build on that for the Russia game on Wednesday. For me, Emile was a huge plus and proved what a handful he can be for defenders,’ he told reporters.

‘I lost count of the number of chances he created and I was pleased for him because he has been out in the wilderness for a long time. But he you could see what a talented and effective player he can be today.’

Talented and effective might be an exaggeration but he was not bad and it came as a shock for me. Still I’d go for Andy Johnson against Russia.