Heskey – All time (not so) great

Emile Heskey recently became just the sixth player to top 500 EPL appearances. He will move past Sol Campbell(503) and possibly top Frank Lampard soon if the latter continues to be in and out of the Chelsea lineup
He is also closing in, albeit at a snail’s pace, on the pantheon of players who have accumulated both 100 goals and 100 assists in their EPL careers.
Here is a graph of the nine players who have reached that level plus Heskey, who has 111 goals and 96 assists.

Shearer leads the way with 382 points but Giggs at 376 will be harbouring hopes – in the extremely unlikely event of him being an avid reader of this blog – of surpassing that figure before he retires

Heskey had a similar profile to Scholes but fell behind both him and Lampard around the 330 game mark and has tapered off markedly with a single goal and no assists in 13 appearances this year. Shearer had a similar rate to Henry for the first part of his career but the Frenchman showed no sign of tailing off by the time he left English football at the age of 29 with an average of 1.12 points per game over his career.

Splitting the players performance into 100 game chunks produces some interesting variations

Unsurprisingly, in general the first 100 games show relatively low output: players are less experienced and may be used more as a substitute. Rooney, for example, first played at 16 for Everton and since his 60th game has posted just shy of a point a game Cole and Sheringham, in particular, were well into their careers by the time the Premier League was established.
Lampard is an interesting case in that his first couple of hundred games only produced around 60 points. It was only at the age of 26 and with better talent around him at Chelsea that he turned into the most productive midfielder in Premiership history. Indeed, with seven goals and four assists this season he has shown little sign of tailing off yet

In contrast, Heskey managed 10 goals and 10 assists in his first full season but only matched that level a couple of times in the next 15 seasons. Although he brings some less measurable qualities to a team, how England thought they could win the World Cup with him in the starting lineup continues to bemuse

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