Date:Sunday January 22 2006
Emile Heskey has publicly backed winger Jermaine Pennant to force his way into the England squad if he maintains his current form.
Pennant has put in a string of recent fine performances, most notably a man-of-the-match performance in Saturday's 5-0 thrashing of Portsmouth.
And now Heskey has backed the ex-Arsenal winger to force his way into Sven Goran Eriksson's squad.
He declared: 'Jermaine is brilliant.
He has been brilliant since he came to Birmingham. He has had a few problems but on the pitch he has shown so much. He has been excellent for us.
'He is only 23 so he has got a long time ahead of him. He is coming to the peak of his career.
'Can he make the England team? He can definitely do that and he is playing regularly as well which helps him. He has got every chance.'
Pennant has had notable off-the-pitch problems, including a stint in jail for drink-driving offences, but ex-Liverpool striker Heskey believes the former England under-21 international's problems are now firmly behind him.
'He has good professionals around him. We are going to guide him. He knows that. We do talk to him and sit him down at times but he is such a talent.'
Steve Bruce has also backed the winger after his recent performances, saying:
'Jermaine is exciting. He is one of those sort of players the crowd love. He is a dying breed. He is young and when he came here this time last year, he lifted everybody.
'With young players, they are going to have ups and downs. Since he scored a headed goal against Wigan he has played ever so well and when he is in full flow like he was on Saturday he is unplayable.
'His feet are quick and he takes the ball early and causes havoc. It is up to Jermaine how big and how good he wants to be, because he is a terrific talent.
'You don't see many wide players dancing and going past people and he wants to do it. He is an old fashioned type of winger and it is great to see.'
Whilst talk of 'Pennant for England' may be premature - remember the clamour for Julian Gray last season? - what is certain is if he continues to put in the kind of performances he has recently, he will attract attention both from the national team and other clubs.
Stats: Brighton and Hove Albion v Birmingham City (Saturday November 28 2015)
Sask's Thoughts On Josh Martin (Saturday November 28 2015)
Opinion: Vaughan Represents Good Business (Friday November 27 2015)
Opinion: Predicted line up Vs. Brighton and Hove Albion (Friday November 27 2015)
Opinion: Is Greg Halford really worth all the abuse? (Thursday November 26 2015)
Versatile Rotherham United man joins Blues on loan (Thursday November 26 2015)
Birmingham City borrow former Everton striker (Thursday November 26 2015)
Rowett and the Rumour Mill (Thursday November 26 2015)
One To Watch: Beram Kayal (Thursday November 26 2015)
Blast from the Past - Matthew Upson (Thursday November 26 2015)
|3. Derby County||18||10||6||2||15||36|
|4. Hull City||18||10||5||3||16||35|
|8. Sheff Wed||18||7||7||4||3||28|
» Rotherham : 29/11/2015 09:37:00
|LUFC Leeds Fan View v QPR
» Leeds Utd : 29/11/2015 09:11:00
|LUFC Evans - Byram talks this week
» Leeds Utd : 29/11/2015 09:00:00
|Wednesday Earn Point At Ewood Park
» Sheff Wed : 29/11/2015 09:00:00
|LUFC Evans - We don't have many good players
» Leeds Utd : 29/11/2015 08:35:00