James Collins has waxed lyrical over Aston Villa team-mate Emile Heskey after his match-winning performance against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Heskey has been described as a 'players' player' by the Welsh defender, who praised the former England international for his 88th-minute header which sealed a 2-1 victory over local rivals Wolves in Sunday's encounter at Molineux.
Collins believes the 32-year-old front man, who scored once and set up two goals in last week's Carling Cup win over Blackburn, is maligned too often by supporters for his poor goals-to-games ratio.
But the centre-back insists the Villa squad recognise Heskey's contribution and has backed him to continue to prosper under recently appointed manager Gerard Houllier.
Collins said: "Emile was brilliant at Wolves. Whenever he has been called upon to play, either starting or playing, he has always made an impact.
"I thought he was superb and that goal topped off a first class performance.
"He gets a lot of stick off fans but you ask any player who has played with him or trains in the same team as him what they think of him.
"They have got nothing but good things to say about him.
"He is a superb professional and a superb footballer and good to have on your team."
Collins added: "Emile is a players' player. I wouldn't fancy playing against Emile week in and week out.
"He has shown it over the years at every club he has been at. He scores goals.
"He is a real team player, puts his body on the line for the team. It is good to see him getting his rewards."
Collins believes Heskey is benefiting from the emergence of Ashley Young in the 'hole' role behind him.
He said: "All centre-forwards want to be scoring goals and Ashley playing in the hole behind Emile is giving him chances.
"Every time you get the ball to Ashley, he is making things happen."
Collins admits the players have quickly adapted to the ideas and plans brought in by Houllier.
He said: "It has been good. He has come in and put his ideas across and the boys have taken them on board.
"Certainly the second half on Wednesday and the first half here, the way we knocked it around was as good as anyone. We've got to continue that.
"I think the club will settle down. The new manager has come in and settled things down straight away.
"Two good results always makes everyone feel better."