Heskey hopes Rooney partnership takes him to South Africa

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Emile Heskey is hoping the success of his partnership with Wayne Rooney during England's World Cup qualifiers will ensure his place in the squad for the 2010 finals in South Africa.

Heskey has had an up-and-down season at Aston Villa and on Wednesday Fabio Capello preferred Jermain Defoe and then two-goal Peter Crouch to partner Rooney during the 3-1 win over Egypt at Wembley but Heskey can point to his productive link-up with Rooney in the past as reasons why he should be part of Capello's plans this summer.

"Wayne is a great player and has been in terrific form recently and hopefully he can keep going with that," The 32-year-old said. "Whoever plays up front can make a good partnership - but the one with Wayne and myself has been quite successful in qualifying for the World Cup and it came to us both pretty naturally really."

He added: "We do a lot of work in training when we're together but it is fairly instinctive when we're on the pitch."

"The manager has played his part in it, too. He lets everyone know how he wants them to play, so we all know what our jobs are and what team-mates have to do.

"That's why things went so well and the partnership has been a success."

Heskey has seldom fired on all cylinders for Villa this season because of injury niggles and admitted: "I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be going to the World Cup.

"I have been to a World Cup, and been through it all, so hopefully that can prove helpful. There is experience in the squad and we have players who have been to tournaments.

"Some went to the last World Cup and had a good run there and a few others were at the one I went to in 2002 in Japan so we have that in our locker.

"That can only help to make sure we are prepared."

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Emile Heskey
Premier League
Wayne Rooney
Aston Villa

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