Dyche has helped me get better and better - Heaton

Tom Heaton
Tom Heaton
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Skipper Tom Heaton admits working with Sean Dyche has given his career a huge lift.

Dyche celebrated his third anniversary at Turf Moor yesterday.

And Heaton - Dyche's first permanent signing - can't speak highly enough of the man who he nearly joined at Watford in the summer of 2012, before finally linking up at Burnley 12 months later.

Heaton has been a virtual ever-present since, helping win promotion to the Premier League, and despite a subsequent relegation, winning a call-up to the England squad after a string of defiant performances.

And Heaton said of the boss: "I’ve been fortunate enough to play under some really good managers, but with this manager I feel I’ve got better and better.

“I feel like he’s given me that platform to perform. He’s brought success in terms of playing in the Premier League, getting in the England squad. I can’t speak highly enough of him.

“Week in, week out I love how he goes about it.

“It’s great as players to have that and I think everyone feels the same.

“It’s no surprise that he’s been successful. He’s great to play for."

From day one, Dyche introduced the culture and environment he felt would benefit the players, and Heaton explained: “You’ve got to buy into it, if you don’t you probably don’t hang around too long, but I certainly feel like I’ve bought into it.

“There’s that factor, you like how it is and it seems to have worked and it’s great to be a part of.

He offers you something different to most managers. There’s always that framework and tactical advice but he also looks at the mental and physical side – managers do but perhaps not to the extent that he’s certainly done it.

“He allows for that individual development but also the clarity to go and perform, they’re two key factors."

Dyche's Gaffer's Day each pre-season has become well renowned for helping deliver the levels of fitness his side have achieved much recognition for, as well as a big bonding exercise the players can draw on at various points of the season: “It's the day when the manager says, ‘Science goes out of the window’.

“There’s usually a bit of a build-up so you sort of know it’s coming and that makes it worse to be brutally honest. It would be nicer if he just chucked it on us. But it's one of those things that you do get through.

“There are no balls on the pitch and it’s very team orientated. It’s all about getting each other through the challenges.

"You might be split into smaller groups or all do it as one and it’s about getting through it and relying on each other.

“This year’s was out in Switzerland and it was a tough one. There were no tyres involved this time but it was a lot of running and physical work.

“We weren’t far off vomiting but thankfully I’ve managed to avoid it – there’s always next year though.

"It's just sort of being able to get through it, that old school mentality of breaking barriers and keep doing it and keep doing it, which is massive.

"You can go back to it as an anchor point through the season when it might be a little bit tough or you've got a lot of games coming up, if you can get through that day - which is one of the physically toughest things you can do - everything else seems easy.

"In previous seasons it's been used as a motivational/inspirational point, and rightly so.

"It's certainly a marker in the season, even though it's early on in pre-season before the games have started. It's a mental and physical marker for what you can do and where we're at and what we're like as a team.

"It can have a big impact and it does.

"Hopefully we won't have to use it to get through a blip this season because we won't be having one."