Heskey: Aguero is irreplaceable but Dzeko & Milner can lead Manchester City to victory

COLUMN: The former England striker believes Manuel Pellegrini should build around the Bosnia forward and his wide players to triumph in the crunch clash against Roma on Wednesday


By Emile Heskey

Sergio Aguero is the man Manchester City look to not just to get them goals, but to get them going. Most of the better teams have a player like that, the one who gives them a spark, and now City are going to have to get a result in Rome without him. They have just lost not only their own best player, but the best in the Premier League.

They can still do it, with the right formation. They can’t replace Aguero as an individual but they can do it in terms of performance. They have the depth of squad. Remember, they beat Bayern Munich without Yaya Toure.

The manager is going to be important. It could be one of those very tactical games, maybe a 1-0. If City just get one chance all night they have to take it.

Edin Dzeko is Aguero’s most likely replacement and City should already be working in training on playing to his strengths – getting runners off him, allowing him to get his shots away.

Aguero is small, mobile, always on the move, buzzing around. A player like that is an absolute nightmare for defenders.

Dzeko is different. He holds the ball up really well and manoeuvres nicely in the box, but he’s more static, he waits for the ball to come to him rather than running into space, like Aguero.

If it does come down to one chance, Dzeko can take it.

He’s an accomplished centre-forward and was going well before his calf injury last month. City have to adapt, and maybe the key men will be the wingers, James Milner and Jesus Navas – they’re very sharp. When they turn to Samir Nasri he comes inside more.

Whatever formation they use, they need Milner, a great, non-stop up-and-down player. He’s having a good run – always does in my view – and was man of the match again against Everton at the weekend.

He’s one of the reasons City have hit form after that really, really slow start. I am a big, big fan of James. We played in the same Aston Villa team and when he left us to join City we lost our main player. We struggled to fill the void and never really found a replacement.

Lots of players have their ups and downs but James is very, very steady. You know he’ll always give everything and you know what you get from him. He can play in so many positions, and he’s good in all of them.

At any other club he’d be one of the first names on the team sheet. I know they have so many midfield options to choose from at City but I’d always have him in the side.

He can play on both flanks. You can tell how important it is nowadays for all players to do some defending as well as creating, because of what happened with Jose Mourinho and Eden Hazard. Hazard is one of the very best talents in the league but Mourinho had a go at him for not doing enough defending. It’s that all-round play that wins you games nowadays. It’s not all about going forward.

Someone like Navas might not get back as often as he should but you could never criticise James Milner in that respect. He’ll be back helping out his right-back, his left-back, cutting out passes – and he’ll get up and down the pitch and he’s creative too. I’d always pick him.

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