According to the ex-England international, our £40m man would “thrive” from Leicester City’s Mark Albrighton, feeling the striker currently suffers from the unpredictability of Almiron and Saint-Maximin.
Now, he’s probably got a point that our current wingers are hard to read, therefore not always easy work in tandem with for a striker looking for consistent service, however there’s a few reasons why this excuse doesn’t really hold up.
For one, Joelinton’s movement (or lack of it) has been poor and that of a player who just isn’t a natural number nine, and you can’t really blame the service from the current crop when Callum Wilson didn’t take a second to combine with the likes of ASM.
Nevertheless, here’s what Heskey’s told HITC about the former Hoffenheim man:
“I think Joelinton needs a goal that goes in off his backside, just to get him to relax and get him to breathe with a bit more confidence.
“We’ve seen throughout his career that he’s able to score goals,”
“The thing is, with Almiron and Saint-Maximin, I don’t think they’re particularly the wingers that Joelinton would like.
“Joelinton would thrive with someone like Marc Albrighton, who only wants to have a touch and cross it whereas Almiron just wants to dribble and take someone on.
“He’s got to be comfortable enough to make those runs and knowing he’s not going to be offside, knowing the players are going to cross the ball.
“One thing you struggle with as a forward is when you’ve got a winger who is jinking, jinking, jinking – when do you make your run?”
Another point Heskey makes that many will contest is this line:
“We’ve seen throughout his career that he’s able to score goals“.
Although he showed huge potential in Germany – being one of the breakout stars in 2018/19 during an impressive season for Hoffenheim – it’s worth noting that he only bagged seven goals.
That makes a mockery of the fact we paid £40m to make him our new number nine, but, going back to Heskey’s comment, the stats actually tell us he’s never scored more than seven league goals in any of Europe’s top five leagues.
For me, we need to forget we bought him as a striker and focus on playing him in his more natural role just behind the likes of Callum Wilson, where he’s able to drive forward and bring others into play with the game ahead of him.