Few players in the England squad have divided opinion like the Villa striker, but Grayson has witnessed Heskey's work rate and unselfish qualities first hand.
"You talk about Emile and he is an enigma at times that people are always having a go at, saying he doesn't score enough goals and this, that and the other," said Grayson.
"But, once you work with him and play alongside him, you realise what he does.
"He has never been a prolific goalscorer from when he made his debut at 18 when I was at Leicester with him.
"So he has different attributes to other strikers, but, he is a good lad and he will be feeling as hurt as that they have gone out as the other players are."