Emile Heskey explains how Leicester Women have made 'massive strides' since 2020

Emile Heskey is head of women's football development at Leicester
Emile Heskey is head of women's football development at Leicester / Matt McNulty/GettyImages

Leicester legend Emile Heskey has praised the ‘massive strides’ that the Foxes women’s team has made over the last few years as a result of the right backing and support from the club.

Heskey is a technical coach in the Leicester Women first-team setup and was also appointed head of women’s football development at the club in the autumn of 2021.

The ex-England striker initially became involved with Leicester Women in May 2020, shortly before the team was formally taken over by the men’s club. There had previously been an informal link between them but the women had been run as an independent entity until that point.

The takeover saw Leicester Women turn professional and the 2020/21 season ended in promotion from the Women’s Championship to the WSL for the first time. Having survived in the top flight last season, the Foxes are hoping to do so again in 2022/23 to further consolidate their status.

In Heskey’s eyes, Leicester are doing things right in the way they have supported the development of the women’s team and given the necessary backing to grow as a professional outfit.

“From where we’ve come when [Leicester] bought the club to where we are now, we’ve taken massive strides,” Heskey tells 90min.

“The club has backed us – training facility, players, everything that is needed they’ve given us. It’s been a phenomenal growth to where we are now.”

Even in 2023, facilities at the top level of women’s football aren’t always up to the same standard as their male counterparts. But Heskey is delighted with what Leicester provide.

“If you want to be professional, that’s what the professionals do. If you go over to the men’s side, that’s the first and foremost what they have, so it should be the same here and I think the club have backed it that way,” he continued.

“We’re very lucky that they’ve backed it that way – we have a facility just for us, we have three pitches that are very nice and we get to choose which one we want to go on. We have a fantastic gym, so there is no corner cutting.

“At the end of the day, they can’t point any fingers at anyone else, it’s now down to us as coaches and players to go out there and perform.”