Rooney might be unstoppable, but Heskey will be England's key man this summer

He is, according to Germany boss Joachim Loew and even himself, "unstoppable".

Big Interview - Wayne Rooney: 'I feel unstoppable'  

Wayne Rooney is enjoying the sort of season that even the great players rarely experience, a campaign in which everything he touches turns to gold.

The player we all feared would be burned out by being asked to play as Manchester United's spearhead and pivot has instead been energised and improved by the burden of expectations.

With 28 goals - the Community Shield included - for United already, the majority scored at the pinnacle of a 4-3-3 formation, the pressure for Fabio Capello to use him in the same role for England is growing.

The argument, too makes sense.

If you are going to win the World Cup, you must play your 11 best players whenever possible. And nobody in their right mind would ever put Emile Heskey in the list of Engand's best 11 players.

Except, perhaps, the people who count - the players themselves.

Ask Michael Owen, who was at his England best when he played alongside Heskey.

And look at Rooney's goal return since Heskey forced his way back into the side - against, it must be said, all the odds - at the start of the Capello reign.

In September 2008, as England squeezed past Andorra in Barcelona, Rooney's goal record for England was under real scrutiny.

While Rooney had scored nine goals in his first 17 England displays up to limping off against Portugal in Euro 2004, including six in 10 competitive outings, the subsequent 27 appearances brought just five further goals, with only two competitive strikes in 16 matches that mattered.

Enter arguably the most-mocked player in England, forever identified with the chant that honoured Sven Goran Eriksson's finest moment: "5-1; even Heskey scored!"

Yet since Heskey started against Croatia in Zagreb, the Rooney transformation has been remarkable.

The new, unleashed, outstanding Rooney has scored 11 in his last 12 England appearances, including a Three Lions' record nine in the qualifying campaign.

And the reason is simple - because Heskey makes it possible.

He is not lightning quick - injuries have taken the edge off the pace that saw "Ivanhoe" scalp defenders in his early Leicester days - and at times he is awkward.

But he is the best out-ball England have, the man who holds it up better than anybody.

Yes, Peter Crouch is a better footballer. Better in the air, better on the ground, and far more prolific in front of goal with his remarkable return of 18 goals in his 36 appearances, and 16 in just 18 starts.

In truth, if Emile Heskey scores one goal in the World Cup - and he did, remember, against Denmark in 2002 - it will be a bonus.

But that is not his primary job, not his responsibility.

In addition, Crouch is also the most-pinged man in football as far as referees are concerned. Before the 2006 World Cup, he was used by FIFA to illustrate the sort of player who should be penalised at virtually every challenge and the Spurs man has continued to pay the price.

Of course, it is easy to suggest that Capello must make the change in tactics. If Rooney can do it for United, without losing his edge or appetite, then it will be easy for him to do it for England.

Think of what it could mean to have Rooney in the advanced role, with Steven Gerrard, free of any remaining defensive responsibilities, floating in behind.

What it would mean, though, is Capello having to fix something that is working pretty well already, thank you very much.

If he changes Gerrard's role, and that of Rooney, then he has to find somebody else to play on the left, tweak the positions of Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard, and ask Rooney to be the out-ball when that is not the role he takes on at Old Trafford, a side who play through the midfield far more than England.

That is why it is unlikely to happen and for those who say you cannot win the World Cup with a non-scoring centre-forward, two words: Stephane. Guivarc'h.

France 98 saw a team of real quality. Zinedine Zidane, Youri Djorkaeff, Christophe Dugarry, Emmanuel Petit, Laurent Blanc, Marcel Desailly, Lilian Thuram, with Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira on the undercard.

But the man who held that team together, the one who knitted it into place by giving Aime Jacquet's side the out-ball they needed, was Guivarc'h, who proved his World Cup scoring drought was no blip during his short-lived spell at Newcastle.

Capello is hoping that Heskey can be his Guivarc'h. If he is right, then Rooney, Gerrard and Lampard will shine and will score the goals England need.

And you cannot see Capello changing his mind. He doesn't do that.

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