Footage from the late 1980s has emerged of the former England rep, who has signed as Newcastle United’s marquee player and will line-up on Sunday at Hunter Stadium, on the Rod Hull and Emu Show.

A shy young Heskey, whose name was pronounced Emily at first, drifted through tyre obstacles to lead his team from the Eighth Leicester Boys Brigade to a prize cheque of £100, which he meekly said would be donated to the Trinitarian Bible Society.

The show was an It’s a Knockout-style caper, featuring an aggressive, mute emu puppet, a sort of poor man’s version of Daryl Somers’ Ossie Ostrich.

The video’s poster says the show aired on April 12, 1989, but was likely filmed in 1988, when Heskey was 11.

Heskey, now 34, and Alessandro Del Piero, 37, who signed with Sydney FC, are two of the biggest ever A-League signings  and are both likely to play in this weekend’s first round matches.