Tom Heaton Selected For England
Burnley Football Club goalkeeper Tom Heaton has been named in Roy Hodgson’s full England squad for the upcoming fixtures against Republic of Ireland and Slovenia.
Heaton, who has previously represented England at U16 & U17 levels, has been rewarded with a debut call-up to the national side following a stunning first season in the Premier League.
The Clarets keeper has kept nine clean sheets this season and becomes the first Burnley player to receive a call-up for England since 1974, when Martin Dobson earned his final cap for the club in a 2-2 draw with Yugoslavia.
Speaking after he learnt about his England selection Tom Heaton said: “It’s difficult to put into words. When the manager told me it was almost difficult to believe and then there was a euphoric flood of emotion.
It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little kid and pretty much everything since I started playing has been geared towards trying to get there. This isn’t the final step because the dream goes beyond this, but it’s certainly a great step along the way and I’m absolutely thrilled.
It’s not really sunk in yet, but I have to say a huge thank you to Matt Gilks for his help and support and especially to Billy Mercer (Clarets’ Goalkeeping Coach) for all the work he’s put in with me over the last couple of years.
Myself and Billy Mercer work very hard this season and he’s had a massive input into my development, equally the same applies to the manager and his staff, who continue to give great guidance.
On the grander scale it’s nice to be the first player in many years to be called up for England, but hopefully I’m one of many more because it can only be good for the club to have internationals.
I’ve played internationally at pretty much every age group in the youth ranks, but that seems a long, long time ago now,” he laughed. I am now looking forward to meeting up with his new international team mates in two week and pulling on the famous Three Lions’ shirt.
It’s difficult to say what I’m most looking forward to, but I guess training alongside the lads and getting involved in the whole set-up. This is the highest level you can get to, so I just want to test myself against the top players.”