I wasn’t sure I’d ever see the day when Emile Heskey was being lauded over in the popular press, but his two workmanlike displays for England over the past week have left many considering the Wigan striker to be the Three Lions’ secret weapon as the race for South Africa 2010 hots up.
So given that he travels with his Wigan Athletic side to former club Liverpool this weekend, it seems only fitting to … totally ignore the strapping frontman in preference to strike partner Amr Zaki.
If you thought Heskey had made an impact so far this term, he has nothing on the mysterious Egyptian frontman who has bagged five goals thus far, and will be fishing for more at Anfield against a resolute home defence who again find themselves whispered about as maybe the backline of the real deal … until about December when it all starts to go wrong again, as usual.
If the Latics are going to tickle Pools’ tear ducts, the Zaki vs Carragher battle could be pivotal. The cheekly Scouser is the only outfield Liverpool player to have appeared in every minute of every league game this season, and the protection his Puma King XL SGs (above right) offer him may just have something to do with that.
This is a typical no-nonsense heavyweight defender’s boot, utilising classic lines whilst embracing Puma’s AptoLast technology which ensure the boot conforms to the foot’s curvature. If you’re going to be cracking into a striker’s shins (outside the box, naturally) you’ll need some sturdy protection, and Carra gets it in abundance.
In contrast, Zaki carries with him all of the style and swagger you’d expect of someone playing for Wigan (ahem) and sports the Nike Mercurial Vapor IV (left), a cleat that shouts speed, energy, and more than a touch of bravado.
Ransacker Verdict: This will be a Pharoah battle. Zaki’s hot property, but he has cleared up from the penalty spot in reaching a total of 5 goals, and you can’t help but suspect that this guy’s a confidence player, otherwise he would have made his way to one of the world’s top domestic divisions before the age of 25. If Carragher’s Pumas get a few early nudges into the Egyptian, you might find his Vapors going to sleep for the rest of the game, out-thought and out-booted by the Liverpool man.