Clarets skipper's pride at Old Trafford shut out
Tom Heaton's performances in the Premier League so far have already drawn comparisons to the likes of goalkeeping greats Gordon Banks and Peter Schmeichel.
The Clarets skipper, who denied Southampton striker Charlie Austin with one of the saves of the season at St Mary’s, was in outstanding form again to keep Manchester United out at Old Trafford.
The hosts had 37 shots on goal, with 11 of those saved by the England international, including a simply stunning stop to thwart Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s acrobatics in the second half.
In fact, Heaton’s heroics were so impressive that former Theatre of Dreams favourite Schmeichel tweeted: “Tom Heaton’s save from Ibrahimovic is in my opinion one of the best in @premierleague history.”
The 30-year-old currently tops the division’s statistics for saves made this term, taking his tally to 57 following the 0-0 draw against the 20-time English champions.
“It was a busy afternoon,” he said. “It was a fantastic performance. We came with a game plan, we defended incredibly well.
“It was tin hats at times, but we put bodies on the line and it’s brilliant to come away with a clean sheet and a point.
“We knew we were facing a top side with top individuals, but we wanted to meet that challenge head on.”
He added: “We’ve got a good unit, you can see the will and demand from everyone, everyone is working for the shirt, bodies on the line and it counts for everything.
“We’re tough to break down, we try not to give anything away easily, I think it was 36 shots and 20 corners, that takes some defending.
“It was a brilliant performance, one off the post and one off the bar, you ride your luck a little bit but it was brilliant to come away with a point.”
Heaton denied United’s Swedish summer signing with a strong left hand in the first half and flicked Jesse Lingard’s header over the bar to keep the scores level.
But, on his return to his former stomping ground, in was the former United trainee’s remarkable save from Ibrahimovic that stole the headlines.
Asked about comparisons to Schmeichel, he said: “I think that’s a stretch really, but I’m delighted. It was a strange one, it was chipped up to the back post, we had two lads I passed on the line so I thought I’d try and close the space down and spread as best I can.
“He caught it pretty well and my elbow’s still a bit sore now, but it never hurts quite as much when you keep it out.”
Heaton added: “It was a busy afternoon but you go into every game trying to keep the ball out of the net. It doesn’t always happen but thankfully today I managed do that.
“It was nice to do it here. I’ve still got a strong affection for this club, I spent a lot of time here.”