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Rediff.com  » Sports » Heskey joins Birmingham

Heskey joins Birmingham

May 18, 2004 23:27 IST

England striker Emile Heskey has joined Birmingham City from premier league rivals Liverpool for a club record 6.25 million pounds.

Blues manager Steve Bruce, who has signed Heskey on a five-year contract, told Birmingham's web site: "This is an absolutely fantastic signing for the club.

"He is still only 26 years old, has 40 England caps to his name and will be representing his country at Euro 2004.

"Hopefully, he will be the first of several high-profile signings that we will be making this summer."

A record signing for Liverpool when he joined from Leicester City for 11 million pounds in 2000, Heskey scored only 60 goals in over 200 appearances and was often the subject of criticism from the Merseyside club's fans.

His best form came in the 2000-01 season when he scored 22 goals to help Liverpool win the FA, League and UEFA Cups.

"Birmingham is a progressive and ambitious club...but they are building within a sensible framework, without throwing money around and jeopardising the future of the club," Heskey said.

"I am keen to play as an out-and-out striker, which I haven't done since my second season at Liverpool, and Steve has made it clear that is the role that he sees for me."

Heskey, who will partner Finnish striker Mikael Forssell at City, is making way at Liverpool for the expected signing of Auxerre striker Djibril Cisse.

Liverpool finished the season fourth in the premier league, securing a place in the Champions League qualifying round. Birmingham ended the campaign in 10th place.

Heskey was named on Monday in England's squad for Euro 2004, where he will challenge Wayne Rooney for a place alongside his former Liverpool team mate Michael Owen.

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