Heaton: I’ll grab England chance with both hands

Tom Heaton in training with England at St George's Park

Tom Heaton in training with England at St George's Park

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Clarets keeper Tom Heaton admits it was tough to keep best mate David Jones in the dark about his England call-up!

Heaton linked up with the national side this week ahead of Sunday’s game in Dublin against the Republic of Ireland, and the following Sunday’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia in Ljubljana.

He was informed by manager Sean Dyche of his selection at the Burnley Supporters’ Clubs’ Player of the Year awards a fortnight ago, and sworn to secrecy before the official announcement two days later.

And Heaton kept his secret, even though he was bursting to tell Jones, who was his best man and vice versa, on the drive home from Turf Moor.

He said: “Me and Jonesy are very close so it was a tough one. But he seems to understand now, it’s one of those things!

“I’m really looking forward to it, it’s an open door, a great opportunity to keep getting better, keep learning and pushing forward.”

Burnley keeper Tom Heaton is relishing joining up with the England squad

Burnley keeper Tom Heaton is relishing joining up with the England squad

Heaton’s form in the Premier League, where he kept 10 clean sheets – only four behind Golden Gloves winner and new England colleague Joe Hart of Manchester City – has led to speculation about his future.

Heaton has been linked with a potential £2m switch to Newcastle and Everton.

However, the Magpies welcome Nottingham Forest keeper Karl Darlow to the club this summer after a season back on loan at the City Ground, while Holland’s Tim Krul is number one, and Everton also boast Heaton’s former Manchester United colleague Tim Howard.

And Heaton – who has two years remaining on his contract – is not concerned about dropping into the Championship affecting his international chances.

I’m really looking forward to it, it’s an open door, a great opportunity to keep getting better, keep learning and pushing forward

Tom Heaton

Having been an ever-present in the league for the Clarets in his two seasons with the club, he said: “The important thing is to be playing every week.

“Obviously you want to be at the top level, especially now I’ve had a taste of it.

“The hunger is there to get back, and that’s how everyone feels. We’ll go again and try to get there.”