EMILE HESKEY Q&A: FORMER LIVERPOOL AND ENGLAND STRIKER GIVES HIS VERDICT ON ENGLAND'S WORLD CUP QUALIFYING CAMPAIGN, GARETH SOUTHGATE AND TIPS HARRY KANE TO BREAK THE INTERNATIONAL GOAL SCORING RECORD
What did you think to England's qualifying campaign? Performances weren't the strongest but we qualified comfortably…
We qualified easily and that's what matters. Yes, we'd all prefer to watch flowing and expansive football but the main objective is to win matches and qualify, that's precisely what England have done and we've done it comfortably.
What have you made of the fan response to England qualifying for the World Cup? It should be something to celebrate but it's been very downbeat…
I think there were celebrations but England fans are now just being realistic. We expected a better brand of football. England fans will book their flights to Russia but they will want more entertainment.
Southgate has publicly said he wants to implement an entertaining brand of football. What do you think fans should expect?
What is the English brand of football? We don’t have a brand of football so I don’t know what brand of football Southgate is looking to bring in. Southgate hasn't said what he wants from the players, what he wants to achieve and how we're going to achieve it. Southgate hasn't told us what his football philosophy will be for England and fans are disappointed.
We used to know exactly what we wanted to achieve when we got on the pitch. We would play 4-4-2, getting the ball to our wingers and whipping dangerous crosses into the box for strikers to score goals. We understood what our brand of football was, but I don’t think we understand what our brand of football is anymore. We need an identity and a clear philosophy.
What do you think to England's group of attacking talent?
We have players and a squad built for counter attacking football with such pace and talent up front, but our problem is every team is playing possession football at the moment and there's no space in behind for us to exploit. We should have counter attack in our armoury but it's not something we can rely on for international football.
Do you think England players will benefit from having a manager who has felt the pressure of performing at major tournaments before?
I hope so. Southgate has of course played for England at major tournaments before so he will understand the pressures that the players are under. He knows what it feels like from the players' perspective, what it feels like to be away for 6 weeks and to keep the experience enjoyable without becoming too repetitive.
Do you think Harry Kane can break Alan Shearer's Premier League goals record?
I think it's going to be very tough to break Alan Shearer's goals record. It will require someone to consistently score 20 goals per season for more than 10 years. I don’t think Shearer gets enough credit for how he was able to keep on scoring so many goals even as he got older. When you get older, you can't get into scoring positions as fast as you once did, but you could still count on Shearer scoring 25 goals per season even towards the end of his career.
We once spoke about Rooney breaking Shearer's record but age effects us all in different ways and though he is only 31 years old, he is a long way off breaking the record.
Do you think Harry Kane will break Wayne Rooney's England goals record?
Yes, I think he will break Rooney's goalscoring record for England. Kane has the look of someone who knows he's going to score every time he steps onto the pitch. He never switches off and you can always rely on him. Michael Owen had that eye for goal as well and it can be priceless to a team.
Where would you rank Harry Kane among the World's top strikers?
I think you have to put Kane in the top 5 strikers in the world at the moment. There's not many that you could put alongside Kane. You've got Lewandowski, Suarez and Lukaku, but not many other out and out strikers who score the numbers that Kane does.
How much would Harry Kane be worth in today's transfer market? Do you believe he will stay at Tottenham?
Harry Kane is worth more than Kylian Mbappe. Tottenham have a long history of getting the maximum transfer fee when selling their players. Harry Kane could even break the £200m mark if he continues in this form because Tottenham will fight tooth and nail to keep him.
I don't see anything that makes me think Harry Kane wants to leave Tottenham. The only thing that could motivate him to leave Tottenham is if the club don’t start winning trophies. Every player wants to win trophies.
Do you think Wayne Rooney will get the recognition he deserves once he retires?
Wayne Rooney will 100% get the recognition he deserves once he retires. Rooney has already got the recognition he deserves from everyone within the game for what he's done and how good he is, but fans will do the same once he retires.