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Is this the worst view in Europe?

The Toe Poke about an hour ago
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By ESPN Staff
Feb 13, 2009

O'Neil annoyed by Heskey's England start

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill is to make his feelings known to England counterpart Fabio Capello after expressing "surprise'' at striker Emile Heskey starting the friendly international with Spain when not fully fit.

Heskey suffered an Achilles injury during the win at Blackburn last weekend but was declared fit enough by the England medical staff to play after reporting for Wednesday's game in Seville.

The former Wigan player suffered a reaction and has been unable to train since returning to Villa and is regarded as a major doubt for Sunday's FA Cup clash with Everton at Goodison Park.

O'Neill cannot understand why the 31-year-old was risked in a non-competitive game.

It is the start of a crucial week for Villa with a UEFA Cup tie against CSKA Moscow on Wednesday and a Barclays Premier League clash against Chelsea on Saturday week, with Heskey having a key part to play if fit.

O'Neill said: "Emile has aggravated his Achilles. I was surprised he started the England game. He had come off against Blackburn last weekend.

"The ruling now is that you go down and be assessed at international level by the international medical team.

"Knowing Emile, he would have wanted to have gone down there and played in a bit of discomfort but I was surprised he played considering he wouldn't have been fully fit.

"I didn't speak to Fabio Capello beforehand. I would have thought those things would have been pretty straightforward.

"Emile has come back, he didn't train today, the Achilles is particularly sore at this minute. If the game was this minute, he couldn't play.

"It was a friendly international at the end of it all. I can understand it if it was a qualifying game because they are very important to the well-being of the country.

"But you would have thought rest this particular week would have been the order of the day.''

O'Neill added: "If you are fully fit to play, I don't have a problem and you take your chance. If you have been suffering from something a couple of days before, then I think a bit of care should be taken.

"I have spoken to the England doctor and voiced some concerns and I will speak to the manager.

"My take on it is, if someone is not fully fit to play in a game, you are not going to get the best out of them.''

O'Neill has also expressed his surprise at the sacking this week of Luiz Felipe Scolari and Tony Adams as managers of Chelsea and Portsmouth respectively.

He said: "You get to a stage where nothing surprises you anymore but it is disappointing.

"I didn't get to know Scolari too well but he has been a brilliant manager and won the World Cup and I was really surprised at what happened.

"In terms of Tony, the first thing he is asked to do is sell players and then you are expected to improve the team even though you've sold the players and it is difficult.

"Again, in terms of the time given, I thought it wasn't enough.''

Defender Luke Young is expected to be fit to face David Moyes' side after a toe injury forced him to withdraw from the England squad.

But midfielder Gareth Barry is ruled out because of a one-match suspension for incurring five bookings this season with Steve Sidwell likely to replace him.

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