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Football: Time to repay Hou's faith.

Byline: Philip McNulty

EMILE HESKEY bristled with open defiance and barked with naked aggression -it was just the broadside Liverpool's impatient camp followers have waited for from this enigmatic giant.

Sadly,it was delivered off the pitch and carried an air of appalling self delusion that Heskey would do well to rid himself of before the Premiership season starts.

Heskey was in no mood to give encouragement to those of us who believe he is not merely drinking at Anfield's Last Chance Saloon, but is on the point of doing his talking outside.

Buoyed by bagging a brace against the might of Hong Kong,Heskey was in feisty form as he announced: ``I haven't got anything to prove this season.''

Sorry Emile.Wrong. Don't let achievements which don't actually register on the Anfield scale go to your head.

Get the blinkers off,get real,and start proving you are really worth all the faith Gerard Houllier has put in you.

Start proving you have the heart to be the attacking warrior Liverpool will need to win the Premiership.

It is also time to look over your shoulder and see the shadow of Auxerre's France striker Djibril Cisse, who will surely arrive at Anfield one day.

Emile, you have just one thing to prove.Everything.

Every Liverpool player has something to prove in every game he plays -to the fans, the manager and the club.

And no-one has more to prove at Liverpool than Mr Emile Ivanhoe Heskey.

Liverpool players who won the championship and the European Cup on a regular basis still had something to prove at the start of every season.

And while not subscribing to the rather sour-faced Ronnie Moran philosophy of ``here's your championship medals, they count for nothing next season blah, blah, blah.'',Anfield is a permanent proving ground.

If Heskey does not realise at this stage of his Liverpool career that he has everything to prove, then he never will.

If these words provoke a dissatisfied (or even angry) response from Heskey, then good.

No apologies. Hell-raising against Hong Kong is a different matter from inflicting misery on Manchester United or terrorising Tottenham. Very different indeed.

Houllier once again backed Heskey, as he has done through the lean times and the miserable form of recent months, through the long goal-less spells that understandably pushed Anfield's patience to breaking point.

stretch kindness to its maximum, patchy.

And at times it has been non-existent.

It is pay back time for Heskey when it comes to giving something back to a manager who has given time, support and unswerving patience to his personal cause.

Heskey has,on occasion,looked the part. The occasion was at Southampton last season.

I take on board the defence that he has been played out of position and occasionally been dogged by injury.

I hear all this -but sometimes you have got to be cruel to be kind.

Unless I've lost the thread of the grand old game, the main point of a striker's existence is to score goals and,as an alleged goalscorer,Heskey doesn't do what it says on the tin often enough.

If Emile Heskey, with his future on the line, genuinely believes he has nothing to prove at Liverpool this season, then he truly misses the point of his mission.

And may find he is having to prove himself somewhere else before too long.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 1, 2003
Words:565
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