Gary van Egmond believes Emile Heskey’s ability to bring his teammates into play will be one of the Jets’ best weapons this season.
Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets head coach Gary van Egmond believes former England striker Emile Heskey-s ability to keep the ball and bring his teammates into play will be one of the Jets- biggest offensive weapons this season.
The Jets focused a lot on their combination play in attacking areas during a testing session at Newcastle University on Tuesday morning.
With Heskey likely to lead the Jets- forward line throughout the 2012/13 season, van Egmond said it is important that the ex-Liverpool player receives the right type of attacking support from his teammates.
“We worked on it a little bit today, concentrating on the front third and getting players in and around the number nine,” van Egmond said.
“It-s not so much the system, but more so the reading of the game. You can play with an out and out number 10, that will give him someone next to him more consistently.
“If you play with two number 8-s, either one of those players can start to get tighter (with Heskey) or even one or two of the wide players.”
Van Egmond said the other forwards in the Jets squad would benefit greatly from playing alongside Heskey.
“It-s just about making sure that we have players in and around him that he can bounce things off and play one or two touch football with,” he said.
“The one thing you know you-re going to get from a player of that ilk is that he-s able to keep the ball under pressure.”
Van Egmond said the Jets would carefully assess Heskey-s fitness levels when he arrives in Australia to ensure he is 100% ready when he takes the field for the Jets for the first time.
“We just need to have a look and see how he is physically and see how quickly he can recover from the flight and we-ll decide on what his schedule will be from there,” van Egmond said.
“From my understanding, he-s been doing some training and a bit of work with Wigan, but again we just have to see how he copes with the flight and do our due diligence there.”
Should Heskey make his debut for the Jets in their Round 1 match against Adealide United at Hunter Stadium on October 7, one player likely to line-up alongside him is the Jets 2011/12 leading goal scorer Ryan Griffiths.
Griffiths is on the road to recovery from a hamstring strain sustained in a trial match against Western Sydney Wanderers.
“He does (look like he-ll be ready for round one),” van Egmond said.
“He had a strain, there was no tear, but he-s come back and completed 75% of the session today and by the end of the week he should be fine to complete the whole session.”
Heskey merchandise is available both ONLINE and at the Hunter Sports Superstore at 294 Turton Road, New Lambton. Stock has not sold out.