Skipper Tom continues to improve – Dyche

Tom Heaton
Tom Heaton
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Clarets skipper Tom Heaton continues to improve, according to boss Sean Dyche.

Heaton was named in the England squad for a fourth-successive time by Roy Hodgson on Thursday, and Dyche believes his first permanent signing at Turf Moor has more to come in terms of his development.

I always felt he was a good goalie but I think he’s maturing into a more rounded goalie

Sean Dyche

He is the only Championship player in the squad, and Dyche said: “It’s another very positive thing. A player from a short while ago has developed that strongly from being a free transfer into being in the England set-up.

“I think it’s fantastic open-mindedness from the staff at the England set-up to get a player involved who is outside of the top level but they feel can deliver top-level performances, or else he wouldn’t be there.

“He’s a got a good manner about him, a very professional manner about him and he takes it very seriously. He’s certainly a very serious campaigner with what he wants to be and what he wants to do. The way he’s developed since we’ve had him here has been fantastic.

“I always felt he was a good goalie but I think he’s maturing into a more rounded goalie. His understanding of the game has improved, his handling - he’s got amazing clean hands, his general game understanding has improved.”

Dyche has spoken of Heaton’s “clean hands” before, and his reliable nature rubs off on the rest of the side: “It’s like good referees you don’t really see them. Ideally, you don’t really want to see your goalie, do you?

“If he ain’t in action, that’s good news. When he is called into action - makes a big decision, for a ref, makes a big save for a keeper. That’s an important factor. Those keepers who are just so reliable do the good stuff all the time.

“The real markers of very good keepers are that they are not flashy because they don’t need to be. They are so clean with their decision-making and their handling and they read things so early that they don’t need the last moment of flashy.

“They’ve got it in their locker - all good goalies have it in their locker to make the big save, to make the big challenge, to make the big decisions. But they seem to minimise that if you look across the game of good goalies.

“You could argue some goalies have an amazing 10 players in front of them, but equally that brings a pressure in itself because if they breach those amazing 10 players, they’ve done pretty well which means you’ve got to bail them out.

“Whereas there are goalies who are maybe not playing in teams like that who are still top class.

“I’m not a defined specialist which is why I give Billy Mercer (goalkeeping coach) carte blanche to work with him, but of course I have an awareness of them and he’s a very good goalkeeper and he’s continually improving.”

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