Former Leicester City striker Emile Heskey jets in to join new club down under
Heskey fever has gripped football fans down under after the former Leicester City and England striker joined his new club – the Newcastle Jets.
Emile Heskey flew in last week after signing with the A League outfit in response to a club delegation which travelled to England during the summer to get his signature.
Since he signed, demand for his number nine shirt from the Australian fans has outstripped supply, while club membership has soared, with an extra 1,000 people signing up to be Jets fans.
The 34-year-old former Aston Villa and Liverpool striker, speaking to the Mercury from New South Wales, said he was looking forward to the start of the season on Sunday.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
The Jets will take on Adelaide United at the 33,000-capacity Hunter Stadium in front of an expected bumper crowd.
He said: "The Jets have made me feel very welcome and I enjoyed meeting the lads.
"The league starts on Sunday but I am not sure if I will start, be on the bench or what. That's up to the coach to decide.
"I don't know much about the extra shirt sales or the memberships. I am here to do the best I can for the club."
Speaking to the club's website, Heskey said he hoped to be a mentor to the younger players and a leader of the forward line.
The striker, who has 62 England caps, said: "I hope to bring a bit of experience. They say they like to play with a number nine and I'm a typical number 9, so hopefully I'll be able to help along the way."
Newcastle Jets head coach Gary van Egmond said his first impressions after seeing Heskey in the flesh were positive.
He said: "If you look at his physique and then you talk to him, he's a very humble guy.
"There's no frills. He's just looking forward to getting out and doing as well as he can.
"With regard to how he looks, he doesn't look like he's carrying any excess weight or anything like that.
"Our challenge will be to make sure we don't push him too hard too early and make sure we get the best out of him."