By Richard Parry
Aston Villa striker Emile Heskey has spoken of his lack of first-team football, hinting that he may have to leave the club in the January transfer window to consolidate his place on England’s plane to South Africa next summer.
Since leaving Wigan Athletic last winter, Heskey has only made 19 appearances for Villa, and the towering striker is more than aware of the importance of first-team football to a player's international career.
“My place [with England] is not nailed on. There's a lot of strikers that are doing well at times,” admitted Heskey.
“If you're not doing well for your club and not playing, then how can a manager pick you?
“I've got to do well for Villa and try to keep myself in the team. You're always happy when you're playing so I'm like everyone else.
“You can always have a player like Peter Crouch, who's done brilliantly, come back in and his record speaks for itself.”
Heskey has been Fabio Capello's preferred choice in attack alongside Wayne Rooney, but he knows things will have to change at club level if that arrangement is to continue.
He said in The Guardian: "I will have to sit down and think about my next move.
"I don't know whether I can get a World Cup place if I'm not playing for Villa.
"The [England] manager [Capello] hasn't really spoken to me about it.
just have to keep performing well in training and keep going. But you
always wonder about those kind of things, whether it will affect my
"I will just have to try to address it when the time is right."
Despite his indifferent start to life at Villa Park, the former Liverpool man remains focused on winning over Martin O'Neill and is confident of receiving more opportunities as the season progresses.
“I don't know why it hasn't gone so well at Villa,” continued Heskey.
“I'm just concentrating on doing my best and trying to put the performances in.
“There's three strikers there [at Aston Villa] so it's difficult. I'm sure the manager will try to rotate it because there will be a lot of games so you just have to be on your toes and ready.”