Departing midfielder backs Clarets skipper to kick on

Tom Heaton and David Jones
Tom Heaton and David Jones

Departing Clarets midfielder David Jones has backed captain Tom Heaton to go from strength to strength in the Premier League.

Jones joined Sheffield Wednesday on a three-year deal on Tuesday, but will retain a vested interest in the fortunes of Burnley.

Heaton and Jones were each other's best men at their weddings, and Jones was at the Stadium of Light to see his mate make his England debut in the summer against Australia.

The pair were together at Manchester United as youngsters, and Jones said: "He's been fantastic since he's been at the club.

"I've known him for many years. On paper he was far away from an England call up three years ago, but I know he's always looking to develop and was always on the upward curve.

"Sometimes in football your circumstances don't reflect your game, or which club you're at, but he's always had that vision and those goals.

"He had a great season in the Premier League and rightly got his call up.

"Although he hasn't played much for England, he must have done really well in the camps to keep his place all last season.

"He's come back with extra confidence. He always has his chest out, but he seems to have grown!

"He's always looking to improve, from his own admission he's relatively inexperienced in the Premier League. He's only had one full season, so he's got aspirations to do really well and take the club on. What a fantastic achievement it would be to be in the Premier League next season with him as captain."

Heaton came on for the last three minutes against Australia in a warm-up game for Euro 2016, and Jones admitted he gave his mate a bit of light-hearted stick for the brevity of his debut appearance: "I've given him some stick, it was a long night, but it was worth it, a great achievement.

"I've known him since I was 10, so it was nice to be there.

"He was buzzing after, delighted to finally get on the pitch. It was looking at one stage that Roy Hodgson had forgotten about him, Gary Neville was nudging him - 'shall we get him on?'

"I thought he was going to get on and I was delighted to see him do it. I hold him in high esteem and I've known him since I was 10."