By Declan Taylor

Emile Heskey is likely to lead the Wigan line at Emirates Stadium on Saturday and Arsène Wenger likens the 30-year-old’s roller-coaster career to that of last Sunday’s dangerman, Nicolas Anelka.

Heskey’s ferocious power and explosive pace earned him an £11million move from Leicester to Liverpool in 2000 but a lack of goals on Merseyside (39 in 150 appearances) saw the burly forward’s reputation nosedive.

An unimpressive stint at Birmingham City, coupled with the emergence of Wayne Rooney, saw Heskey lose his place in the England squad. However, his resurgence at Wigan has seen the frontman return to both the international fold and the attentions of Premier League managers. That doesn’t surprise Wenger.

“He has had ups and downs, but when you have quality you rise up to the top,” said the Frenchman. “He has had a similar career to Nicolas Anelka. He had a strong start and then dropped off a little bit. They are now both back in the national team just because they are quality.

“I always encouraged every national coach to take him at international level. He has always been very efficient. He is a team player and has a fantastic physical presence.

“Technically, he can hold the ball up very well and he is quite quick. I always felt he was a good player and have known him since he was at Leicester.”

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5 Dec 2008