Jets confirm Heskey signing

After days of speculation, Newcastle Jets have finally confirmed the signing of former England forward Emile Heskey.

After days of speculation, Newcastle Jets have finally confirmed the signing of former England forward Emile Heskey.

“To secure the signature of Emile is a fantastic result for the Jets and for the A-League,” Jets CEO Robbie Middleby said.

“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 established already.

“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.

“We would like to thank the FFA for their assistance in securing Emile, in particular the A-League-s new CEO Damien De Bohun.”

Jets coach Gary van Egmond said a player of Heskey's experience could prove priceless to his squad.

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

“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.”

Having played against Heskey during his time in the English Premier League, Jets striker Michael Bridges knows better than most what Heskey is capable of.

“I think Emile is a tremendous signing for the Jets,” Bridges said.

“He-s just left Aston Villa where he was playing in the Premier League last season and that says a lot about his quality.

“It-s a massive coup for the Club to bring someone of his stature to Newcastle.”

Bridges said Heskey would not only prove to be a goal-scoring threat himself, but would also provide goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates.

“He-s a big target man who is a powerhouse, a work horse and can lead the forward line,” Bridges said.

“If you look at his strike-partners at the teams he-s played with, they-ve all been goal-scoring machine because of his work rate and supply.”