To the adoring public, a footballer's life can seemingly follow a predestined path, though the journey itself is anything but predictable. Following the highs and lows that football brings, some pursue managerial careers, others get into punditry, and some will write their memoirs for the world to read.
Though his career path was special and unique, the same could be said for former England striker, Emile Heskey.
Having enjoyed retirement since his final stint in 2016, Heskey has settled into life with his family in Cheshire while continuing his nomadic career dabbling in punditry and playing in charity matches, all while working away at writing his career memoirs.
"I've been doing some media broadcasting and punditry, a few legends games here and there. I've also been doing the things I can in order to get back into football possibly on a managerial level.
"It's difficult to settle in the life of a footballer, I was a bit of a nomad, and I didn't want to relocate the kids all the time. Once I moved to Wigan I started raising a family, they'd settled in school and they'd made friends, and I couldn't do that to them once they settled so I've stayed in Cheshire since retiring."
Speaking to Tribal Football, he tells us about the recent release of his autobiography, titled Even Heskey Scored. His story encapsulates everything from his humble beginnings to the highest of elite football, Heskey fills in all the glorious details that fans could only wonder and dream of.
He explains that he told his story to so many people since hanging up his boots, writing a book seemed the right way to go.
"I spoke to people enough times that they'd ask me when I'd be bringing out my book, never thought I'd ever do it but when you sit and speak to people, they want to understand how I got to where I was, and where my journey took me.
"I mean if it was easy, I've had written 4 or 5 books by now. I'd been up and down in English football, obviously with English fans they remember specific games and moments like the 5-1 against Germany, they'd tell me clear memories of games and it astounds me what kind of impact you make on people's lives."
Many people wonder if he was always destined for Liverpool after his storied success with Leicester, or if his age and potential could have taken him elsewhere in the world. Emile reveals in his book that all bets were off once the Merseyside club came knocking.
"There was some interest from Spurs and Villa, but the pre-contract with Liverpool really nullified everything else. And after I learned there was interest from the club I supported as a young lad, it was blinkers on, there was nothing else I wanted more."
However, despite a dream move to an English juggernaut with all the fanfare of the times for a player his age, Heskey's book describes in detail one of the biggest challenges to face any footballer moving to a new place: isolation.
His move to Liverpool was undoubtedly a special time in his life and a bold statement from the club, with an exorbitant £11 million transfer fee for a 22-year-old, yet it was off the field that proved to be the biggest challenge for the up and coming Heskey.
"Liverpool was streets ahead in a lot of areas, like player liaison, facilities were absolutely world class and even training was a much higher intensity than I'd be used to. I go into it in my book, there were times I felt isolated, didn't even know where to go and get a haircut from a barber, whereas these days you can just open google and find the closest one.
"Being in an unfamiliar area was enough to make me doubt this extraordinary move, but then I'd go to training and be with the lads and feel great, get stuck in and focus on the task at hand. Sure I'd go home and I might be feeling alone again, but once I got into a routine with the club I settled right in and I loved it. Fees aside, my first season as a young player at 22 I really felt the significance with everyone, the club, the fans, everyone. It was truly an amazing feeling."
Liverpool may have been the biggest move of his career that honed in on his abilities and developed his game and tactical awareness to another level, yet Leicester holds a special place in Heskey's heart for being given the opportunity to pursue his footballing career, as well as developing his confidence as a player.
"With Liverpool, I was over the moon not only to be playing for my boyhood club, but to be producing some excellent football and winning trophies with them as well. Gerard Houllier helped my game to the next level, working on simple things like positioning, timing and chemistry. I got called up to the England squad the most during my time with Liverpool as a result."
In the early 2000's, Leicester experienced financial hardships which saw the club placed into administration at the start of the 2002-03 season in the EFL First Division, now the EFL Championship. While playing for Liverpool, Heskey helped contribute to alleviating Leicester's financial woes, saying it felt like the right thing to do to help the club that made him.
"Leicester and Liverpool will always be close to my heart, it wonderful thing to do what they did for my career. When Leicester went into admin, I gave some money to the consortium that helped saved them. My mentality was real simple, without Leicester there would be no Emile Heskey."
Need a VPN? Or seeking to switch? Then support Tribal Football by clicking here to sign up with our official partners NordVPN. Not only will you receive the best VPN experience, but also great discounts by signing up via Tribal Football. Thanks for your support!