Man City have produced another superstar striker – & he’s the son of a Liverpool legend
The Academy Stadium in Manchester is the epitome of modernity, with smart stands and enviable facilities just a stone’s throw from the Etihad, and there’s nothing that marks the passage of time quite like the son of a childhood-staple footballer announcing his arrival in the game.
On a chilling Tuesday afternoon, the type where the wind chills your bones and makes you regret losing your big coat in the Northern Quarter, 15-year-old Reigan Heskey lined up for City in their UEFA Youth League match against Young Boys.
Yes, that’s the son of Emile Heskey. Feel old?
The scorer of 110 Premier League goals for Leicester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Wigan and Aston Villa, Heskey senior was often criticised for not being as prolific as his peers. He was a meme footballer before memes were a thing.
But plenty of team-mates loved playing alongside the big striker; he was Michael Owen’s preferred partner up front, contributing to the sidelining of Robbie Fowler at club and international level, and enjoyed a career renaissance as Wayne Rooney’s foil for Fabio Capello’s England.
Strong, quick and the scorer of surprisingly inventive goals before age limited his capabilities, Heskey spoke about perceptions of his goal record in an interview with The Guardian in 2019.
“I play for the team; it wasn’t anything that really bothered me,” he said. “I know forwards will go out and if [the team] score five and they don’t, they are fuming. I don’t care. I still got to the top 1% or whatever of the game.”
Heskey has two sons in the City academy, with the older Jaden captaining the side, but today was Reigan’s day. One he will remember for the rest of his mortal days.
Wearing the No. 11 shirt, he recovered after a couple of nervous touches on his debut to get on the ball and win an early penalty for some tricky wing play. It was converted in the cool manner of a player with Slush Puppie in their veins.
His father could be seen in the stands, recording the immortal moment on his phone. Heskey’s spot-kick set the tone for City’s comfortable 3-0 victory and was certainly better than double Maths in a crumbling classroom.
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The youngster also had a hand in City’s second goal, winning a free-kick that was whipped home by Mahamadou Susoho, before playing a one-two that was crucial for the third.
His debut ended after 45 minutes, with brother Jaden admitting there was never any doubt in his mind that his younger sibling would deliver from 12 yards.
He also expressed his personal pride at Reigan’s ability to handle the pressure after reflecting on the moment he found out that he’d be lining up alongside his sibling.
“It was mad,” the elder Heskey child stated. “He was actually at school at the time and found out there, then I got a text from my mum saying he was playing, then we found out today that he was starting.
“It was a big surprise, but it was good. I had confidence in him, he won it himself and he’s normally very good at penalties. I didn’t think the atmosphere would get to him too much.”
With Reigan impressing at just 15 years old and City putting one foot in the next stage of the Youth League, the future is bright for the treble-winners.
And two sons of a former Premier League legend could have a big part to play if they continue their upward trajectory.
By Michael Lee