Soccer

"I struggled with that a lot" - Emile Heskey on off-field struggles after joining Liverpool

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

02:16 17 Sep 2019

By the time Emile Heskey had arrived at Liverpool in March 2000, he had already been part of the England set-up.

Yet outside of the football aspect, he wasn't ready for everything needed to adapt to a move to another city from his hometown club of Leicester.

It's something he touched on with The Guardian recently, and expanded on the struggles he faced when he spoke to Enda Coll and I for this week's Team 33.

You can listen to the full interview right below, hereor on iTunes.

"I struggled with that a lot" - Emile Heskey on off-field struggles after joining Liverpool

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

"I'd moved up there but I'd only just left my Mum and Dad's house. Even though I was 22-year-old lad, I was still young in myself," he said.

"I moved all the way up to Liverpool and it isn't really far [from Leicester] for me. But I didn't have that support mechanism around me.

"Liverpool were good. They had a player liaison and stuff like that. But in my mind, player liaison was for the foreign lads, that it wasn't for me.

Isolated

"So it didn't feel like it was right for me to be asking them to help me out with certain things. I just felt isolated a little bit and didn't deal with it great straight away.

"It was little things. Going to the shop, I didn't know where the shop was. The barber shop, I didn't know where that was. But I wasn't an out-going person and I struggled with that a lot."

But he emphasised that it "never affected my football" in those early months before he settled.

"It's where I got all my joy and all my relief from," Heskey added.

But he also feels the support systems for emerging players have improved over the past 20 years.

"I think it's better now. There is a better structure because that was never an issue [that was discussed]," said Heskey.

"No one ever looked at homesickness being an issue before. If it was an issue, they'd tell you to toughen up and get on with it. Now it's more of an issue where they're checking and making sure you're OK. I think senior pros should have more responsibility as well.

"They should be asking you questions and probing you to see if you're OK."

Launch of eir Sports New Season of Action 11/9/2019
Wes Brown, Emile Heskey, Jack Byrne and Shane Supple were at the Sport Ireland Campus to help launch a new season of action on the eir sport pack. eir sport viewers can watch every game in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League plus UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers on Virgin Media Sport, which is now part of the eir sport pack, as well as live FA Cup games, SSE Airtricity League games & the Republic of Ireland’s U21 Home Qualifiers.
Pictured above is Emile Heskey
©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

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Emile Heskey Enda Coll England Football Liverpool Raf Diallo Team 33

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