Euro Whites: Emile Heskey

With England kick-starting their their Euro 2016 campaign tonight, take a look at one of their former Three Lions to have turned out at the European Championships

Ahead of England's opening match at Euro 2016 against Russia tonight, continues our ongoing series throughout the tournament by profiling a former Three Lions international who, until recently, called Macron Stadium his home.

ENGLAND (1999-2010) 

European Championships: 2 (EURO 2000 AND EURO 2004)
Best Stage Reached: QUARTER-FINALS 

Tournament Appearances: 3
Tournament Goals: 0

Having recently left Wanderers after an 18-month stint at Macron Stadium, veteran striker Emile Heskey represented England at two World Cups and two European Championships during an 11-year long international career. 

Coming through the ranks at Leicester City, he was handed his Three Lions debut by Kevin Keegan against Hungary in April 1999, before making his first competitive appearance in a Euro 2000 qualifier against Bulgaria. 

Also featuring in England’s Play-Off victory over Scotland as they secured their place at the finals in Belgium and The Netherlands, Heskey then made his maiden start against Argentina in February 2000 a month before joining Liverpool. 

After scoring his first international goal against Malta in England’s final warm-up game, the forward made his first tournament appearance in the Three Lions’ opening match against Portugal, joining the action as a half-time substitute. 

Having seen England race into an early 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Paul Scholes and Steve McManaman, Keegan’s side were left with nothing to show for their efforts after being pegged back by Luis Figo and Joao Pinto strikes before Nuno Gomes completed the turnaround for Portugal.

An unused substitute as England beat reigning European champions Germany 1-0 in their second match, Heskey came on as a 66th minute substitute in the Three Lions’ final group game against Romania with Keegan’s side needing to avoid defeat to qualify for the knockout stages. 

Alan Shearer and Michael Owen goals had seen England come from behind to lead at the interval, only for Dorinel Munteanu to equalise shortly after the restart. 

But despite still being on course to progress, an 89th minute Ionel Ganea penalty condemned the Three Lions to a shock group-stage exit. 

Replicating his Liverpool strike partnership with Owen for England following Shearer’s international retirement, Heskey netted his second goal in new head coach Sven-Goran Eriksson’s first match in charge – a 3-0 friendly victory over Spain. 

Also famously on the scoresheet in England’s historic 5-1 away victory over Germany in a 2002 World Cup qualifier, he started all five of the Three Lions’ matches at the finals tournament in Japan and South Korea.

Scoring in their 3-0 second round victory over Denmark, the forward was unable to help prolong England’s tournament as they suffered a quarter-final exit to eventual World Champions Brazil. 

Losing his starting place to emerging teenager Wayne Rooney as England’s Euro 2004 qualification campaign progressed, Heskey briefly captained the Three Lions for the first time in a friendly victory over Serbia & Montenegro at Leicester City’s Walkers Stadium in June 2003. 

Named in Eriksson’s squad for the tournament after signing for Birmingham City, he came off the bench in England’s opening game against France - conceding the stoppage time free-kick which allowed Zinedine Zidane to equalise with the Frenchman scoring the winner from the penalty spot minutes later. 

Unused in England’s remaining group matches as they progressed to the knock-out stages courtesy of victories over Switzerland and Croatia, Eriksson also controversially kept him on the bench for the Three Lions’ quarter-final clash with hosts Portugal despite losing Wayne Rooney to injury after 27 minutes. 

With Darius Vassell introduced to the action instead, the Aston Villa missed a crucial penalty as England fell to a 6-5 shoot-out defeat following a 2-2 draw. 

Heskey’s next caps came three years later in September 2007 under Steve McClaren as England recorded 3-0 victories over Israel and Russia in successive Euro 2008 qualifiers, though they would fail to qualify for the tournament. 

A regular under McClaren’s successor Fabio Capello following his move to Aston Villa, the forward established himself as first-choice alongside Rooney for the remainder of his international career. 

Named in the England squad for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, he started in their opening two fixtures against the United States and Algeria. 

Coming off the bench in the Three Lions’ final group game against Slovenia, Heskey also came on as a substitute in their heavy second round defeat to Germany before announcing his international retirement following England’s exit from the tournament.

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