Clarets legend Dobbo hopes Heaton can surpass his England caps total
Clarets legend Martin Dobson was the last Burnley player to win a full England cap while with the club, back in 1974.
But he won’t mind losing that 41-year claim should Tom Heaton pull on the Three Lions next month.
Heaton was yesterday named in the England squad for the friendly with the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on June 7th, and the Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia in Ljubljana on June 14th.
Dobson, who went on to win five caps for his country, feels the 29-year-old fully deserves the call up: “I’m absolutely delighted for Tom.
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“I saw him while scouting for Leicester, when he was with Bristol City at the back end of the season two years ago.
“He was relegated with them, and I think he was a little let down by his defenders that day against Birmingham at Ashton Gate.
“But he had been on Sean (Dyche)’s radar when he was at Watford, and he stepped his interest up when he came to Burnley and brought him here.
“It goes to show, even though one minute he was disappointed to be relegated, and maybe playing in the third tier, he came to a great club like Burnley, was promoted, and, within 12 months, playing in the top division, and playing exceptionally well.
“He had to move on from Manchester United, where he had been prepared to go out on loan and get experience, and Sean deserves a lot of credit for backing his own judgement.”
And he believes Heaton will only benefit from the experience: “Tom can only learn from Joe Hart and the coaching staff, the great players he’ll be alongside. He’s a part of it now, and he’s earned it.
“This season he’s been one of the best goalkeepers in the league.
“There have been a couple of injuries, to Foster and Forster, but he deserves his chance.”
Dobson remembers his own debut vividly - in Benfica’s Stadium of Light: “It was back in 1974 I played my first game against Portugal in Lisbon, 0-0 - Sir Alf Ramsey’s last game.
“I’m not sure if that was anything to do with me or not!
“Joe Mercer came in as caretaker that summer, a great guy, then Don Revie, and that was a really exciting time for me.
“I only had the five caps in total, but I’d like to think Tom can go beyond that!
“When I was a kid, 7 or 8 on the cobbled streets, you always wanted to play for England, or in a cup final, and I never envisaged that would happen.
“When it did, it was a fantastic feeling.”
When Dobson arrived at Turf Moor in 1967, the dressing room was packed with international experience, and he looked back: “When I came to Burnley after I got a free from Bolton in the late 1960s, there were all these international players in every position - Willie Morgan, Gordon Harris, Brian Miller, John Angus, Sammy Todd, Ralph Coates, Alex Elder, Willie Irvine...I could go on and on.
“You think, if you don’t learn from these guys...
“The coaching was exceptional as well, with Jimmy Adamson and Harry Potts the manager.
“I was so lucky to be there at that time, at that period, with all those outstanding young players as well, Casper, Waldron, Thomas, James, Docherty...
“But hopefully Tom can get that cap and play in one of these games and hopefully play more in the future as well.”