"If not, I'm sure he will keep turning in the performances for Wigan that got him back in the England side in the first place. That way he will force himself into Steve McClaren's plans again."
Heskey won over a doubting nation with his performances in the 3-0 wins over Israel and Russia at Wembley last week but it surprised nobody at the JJB Stadium.
And the way Wigan performed after his early departure here shows what a huge gap he will leave in the Latics team while he recovers.
Kirkland added: "People saw the way he played for England, but everybody here knows he does that all the time. It was no surprise to us what Emile did for England. Hopefully he is not out for too long because he is probably our main player.
"Everybody says that he does not score enough goals but I'd swap that for what he does give us any day."