Emile Heskey is not a British-type target man who is only dangerous in the air but a modern striker who can also play on the deck, Newcastle Jets coach Gary Van Egmond said.
The Jets' new signing figured in the side's 2-0 home defeat to Adelaide United in the first round of the A-League last week.
Already questions are being asked whether the physical qualities of the former England international are the answer for a team that has always refrained from using the long ball and tried to play a technical game based on movement and passing.
But Van Egmond, who led the Jets to their only championship in 2008, would have none of this.
”Look, Emile is a target man, right,” Van Egmond explained.
”But he enjoys playing on the deck and he has the technical ability to play good football.
”He is probably more synonymous with the robust type of forward but he's been very good with his feet since he came here.
”The impression most people have of him is a bit false, actually.
”Maybe that is how they have always wanted him to play at his previous clubs.
”Of course, he has the presence and he is an aerial threat.
”But he can also keep the ball well and secure possession for us.
”He has the attributes to play what we call the lovely game, there's no doubt about that.”
Van Egmond refuted suggestions that Heskey's arrival could tempt some of his players to abandon the team's patient style in favour of taking the easier option and hitting long balls at the burly Englishman.
”Not only will he not affect our preferred game but he will enhance what we are trying to do,” Van Egmond said.
”What happened at the weekend against Adelaide is that we started to play so much long ball trying to hit Emile.
”It was good that we tried to play forward and into Emile.
”But the issue is that we have to be a bit more patient and pick our moment to utilise Emile.
”That was our mistake … it is our task not to get caught up in this.
”He will play as our No. 9 for the rest of the season but hitting long balls at him is not the way we will do things.
”It's about playing to his feet when there is a defender on him because he can hold the ball up and pass it to people running off him.”
Van Egmond said he was upset that the Jets did not get anything out of the game against the Reds and he was looking for his team to bounce back in the clash with Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on Saturday evening.
Sydney also came a cropper in its first match against Wellington Phoenix so the game that is expected to draw 35,000 fans comes with a degree of pressure for both teams.
”Sydney are in the same boat as us and they also are in a transition phase,” Van Egmond said.
”We know that it is going to be a big game in front of a big crowd but we are very much looking forward to it.
”It is fantastic that the match will feature two greats who will be facing each other.
”But we must not get carried away by the occasion.
”We will treat Alessandro Del Piero with the respect he deserves but we won't concentrate too much on him because Sydney have other very good players who can hurt you.”
Goalkeeper Mat Ryan, defender Pedj Bojic and midfielder Oliver Bozanic look to have played their last games for Central Coast Mariners as the A-League champion faces a raft of departures.