'Phenomenal' Coutinho can match Messi and Ronaldo – Heskey

The former Liverpool striker has lauded the Brazilian, who scored a superb double in the Reds’ 4-3 win over Arsenal on the opening weekend of the Premier League season

Former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey believes “phenomenal” Philippe Coutinho has what it takes to reach the same level as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Coutinho, 24, grabbed the headlines as he scored a magnificent double in Liverpool’s 4-3 win over Arsenal on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season.

Messi and Ronaldo are widely regarded as the two best players in the world, having shared the last eight Ballon d’Or awards between them.

And Heskey believes former Inter man Coutinho can match the star duo if he manages to improve his consistency. 

“I think he’s got the ability to [match Messi and Ronaldo]. I think he’s got just as much ability as them and we’ve seen it in spurts. We need to see it more on a constant level now. His skills are phenomenal,” Heskey told Omnisport.

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“I’ve seen it when he was at Inter and some of the videos that you see from there in training … wow. He’s a phenomenal player.

“And some of his visions… You know when you are closing someone down and you think that you’ve got him and he does a trick and you’re wondering ‘how did he actually do that and how did he know I was coming in behind him?’ You’re thinking he’s got eyes in the back of his head. He’s got that sort of vision.

“Those players come round only once in a lifetime really. He’s a phenomenal player. That’s why he’s going to have teams interested in him, but he is a massively important player to Liverpool.  

“Some of the stuff that he does you’re like ‘this is a young lad’. [He’s] still young now to be fair, but he needs to take it to that next level. I believe he can do that, but it’s a mentality thing not a talent thing. Mentality wise that’s where we have to question it.”

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