Dyche wants Burnley skipper to stay - but hints he won’t stand in his way

Tom Heaton
Tom Heaton
Share this article

Clarets boss Sean Dyche insists he wants club captain Tom Heaton to stay at Turf Moor.

But he hinted that he won’t stand in his way if the England goalkeeper decides his future lies elsewhere.

Heaton has not featured in the Premier League since September 2017 after dislocating his shoulder.

And a calf problem on his return led to Dyche bringing in Joe Hart from Saturday’s opponents Manchester City.

Heaton has featured in the Europa League and Carabao Cups this season, but is frustrated at s lack of opportunities in the top flight, and said at the weekend: explained: “It doesn’t need a rocket scientist to see that it’s going to be difficult to fit us all in. Come the January transfer window, I’ve got to keep my ­options open.

“The one thing I’ve been consistent about in my career is moving clubs in order to play games.”

Dyche said on the matter: “I thought he spoke very well because he’s fantastic professional, that’s a big part of why he’s club captain, not just for his performances but for his professional manner.

“I think he’s being realistic. Me and Tom go back a long way, he was my first signing here, so we’ve got an open dialogue about what’s going on.

“He’s been very unfortunate, it started with his shoulder then he got injured again when Popey got injured again and I had to make a decision on that.

“In due course whatever needs to be worked out we will find a way of working it out.

“He knows for as long as he can know that he has a future here, it's just what part of that future is right for him at this stage.

“Football changes very quickly, with goalkeepers it’s more difficult because it can be a longer situation, but with Tom and Popey it changed quickly.

“Nothing is done at this moment in time, I just thought he gave an honest view of the bigger picture.”

Dyche added: “There’s been some factual conversations, he’s a good guy to speak to. It’s different with Tom, I’ve known him virtually since I’ve been here and he’s known me equally so they’re not difficult conversations.

“The outcome might be difficult to find because I think he’s top class and I want him here.

“His only frustration is playing, he’s good around the group, he’s professional around the group, he still has a banter with the players.

It’s just playing, the thing that makes most players tick is playing, when they’re playing they’re at their happiest. If you fit and well you want to be playing, that’s his main frustration, he’s enjoying training and being with the lads.”

Nick Pope is back in light training after also dislocating his shoulder, and is eying a return in December, leaving Dyche with three of the last five goalkeepers capped by England fit and available.

Asked whether there is a loyalty to his skipper, Dyche admitted: “I don’t there’s a loyalty, if there was it would be he’s playing now, there’s more of a trust. I’m always open with my players.

“We’d certainly be inclusive in the situation rather than me telling him or vice versa, it would be a chat because we’ve built up that trust and rapport over a number of seasons here.

“He was my first signing and he’s been absolutely amazing and continues to be so in his professional conduct even though he’s not playing at the moment.”

Heaton is the older of the three keepers, but Dyche feels all three have a lot of life in them: “I don’t think time is running out for him, goalkeeping has changed, I think all our ‘keepers have got a lot of years left.

“Petr Cech is a great example of it with the professional side of it, Mark Schwarzer, Paul Robinson here.

“I think Tom’s mentality is to play, he’s had a real bad set of circumstances and bad luck really to get to this moment.

“The rest will take care of itself.”