Collins impressed by Heskey efforts

Heskey has often been maligned by supporters at international and

club level and he has taken time to win over the Villa fans. But

Collins insists his contribution is always recognised by his

team-mates and he has made a flying start to Gerard Houllier’s term

as Villa manager. Heskey scored once and set up two goals in the

Carling Cup win over Blackburn and headed a superb winner in

Sunday’s Premier League triumph over Wolves at Molineux. Collins

said: “Emile was brilliant at Wolves. Whenever he has been called

upon to play, either starting or playing, he has always made an

impact. “I thought he was superb and that goal topped off a first

class performance. “He gets a lot of stick off fans but you ask any

player who has played with him or trains in the same team as him

what they think of him. “They have got nothing but good things to

say about him. “He is a superb professional and a superb footballer

and good to have on your team.” Collins added: “Emile is a players’

player. I wouldn’t fancy playing against Emile week in and week

out. “He has shown it over the years at every club he has been at.

He scores goals. “He is a real team player, puts his body on the

line for the team. It is good to see him getting his rewards.”

Collins believes Heskey is benefiting from the emergence of Ashley

Young in the ‘hole’ role behind him. He said: “All centre-forwards

want to be scoring goals and Ashley playing in the hole behind

Emile is giving him chances. “Every time you get the ball to

Ashley, he is making things happen.” Collins admits the players

have quickly adapted to the ideas and plans brought in by Houllier.

He said: “It has been good. He has come in and put his ideas across

and the boys have taken them on board. “Certainly the second half

on Wednesday and the first half today, the way we knocked it around

was as good as anyone. We’ve got to continue that. “I think the

club will settle down. The new manager has come in and settled

things down straight away. “Two good results always makes everyone

feel better.”