Former England striker Emile Heskey is threatening to overshadow Alessandro Del Piero as Australian soccer’s most successful import after scoring four goals in his first four games for the Newcastle Jets.
Heskey, always regarded more as a foil than an out-and-out goalscorer, grabbed a brace to help the Jets to a 2-1 victory over Melbourne Victory on Friday evening to put himself top of the goalscorers’ table and his team top of the A-League.
The 34-year-old former Liverpool forward only arrived in Australia a week before the season began but is well on his way to becoming a cult figure in Newcastle with nearly 14,000 fans turning out at Hunter Stadium on Friday.
Those watching at home were able to follow his every move on cable TV’s “Heskey Cam” and he served them up a treat with two fine goals in two minutes early in the second half.
The first came when he got in front of the Victory defense to turn the ball into the net with the outside of his right boot while the second was courtesy of an overhead kick from a corner.
“Well, look, it’s fantastic. What is it? Four in four games? so from that respect it’s a great return,” Jets coach Gary van Egmond told reporters.
Former Italy and Juventus great Del Piero, who joined Sydney FC on a A$4 million (US$4.14 million) two-year contract last month, will play his 800th professional match when his team take on Perth Glory at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium today.
The 37-year-old has also hit the ground running in Australia and his goal gave his club their first win of the season against city rivals Western Sydney Wanderers last weekend.