Heaton gets high praise from idol

Peter Schmeichel is a four-time UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year, a five-time Premier League winner, a Champions League victor and has lifted The Henri Delaunay Trophy.

Thursday, 3rd November 2016, 12:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 5:02 pm
Burnley's Thomas Heaton Photographer James Williamson/CameraSport The Premier League - Southampton v Burnley - Sunday 16th October 2016 - St Mary's Stadium - Southampton World Copyright © 2016 CameraSport. All rights reserved. 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - [email protected] - www.camerasport.com

So when an individual of such stature, an idol, gives you a glowing reference regarding a previous performance it’s bound to resonate.

The “Great Dane”, who made more than 400 appearances for Manchester United during an eight-year stay at the club, took to social media to praise Clarets skipper Tom Heaton for a second half save that denied Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Old Trafford.

Schmeichel hailed the stop as “one of the best in Premier League history” after his former employers were held to a goalless draw by Sean Dyche’s side.

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“It was a massive moment with him being a hero of mine growing up,” Heaton said. “When I heard he’d said that it was a massive moment for me. All in all it was just a fantastic day.

“There was a little bit of interaction when I was in the academy, he wasn’t there when I signed full time, so it was a slight disappointment to miss him.

“I saw an awful lot of him, he was my go to guy to watch and I saw bits of him in training when I was a young lad.

“I watched a little bit of the first team too. I tried to take as much as I can from his game. It’s a nice boost.”

Heaton has enjoyed the plaudits that have come as a consequence of his recent trysts but accepts that he can’t afford to lose focus while he’s on cloud nine.

“It has been good,” he said. “I just want to stress the fact that it’s important not to rest on that.

“It’s vital for me to keep focused on what I’m doing and keep focused on getting better. Hopefully there’ll be more good times to come.

“Every game I look to debrief and take things from it. I try not to get too distracted with any outside noise and just focus on the facts while trying to take the emotion out of it.

“I just want to keep learning and getting better. The big thing for me is trying to keep things moving forward. I still feel like there’s more to come. It’s about trying to get that out.”

Heaton is certainly the man of the moment, with supporters attending his glove launch at the Clarets Store midweek in their numbers.

However, the England international has attributed the recent successes to his team mates’ willingness to fight and put their bodies on the line.

“It was an incredible team performance to defend like that and defend those corners,” Heaton said. “Once again it was a great advert for the bodies on the line and the will to fight for the shirt.

“I’ve always said if you can see players giving everything they’ve got people can get behind it and support it win, lose or draw. When you go to Old Trafford and get a point it just feels incredibly special.

“It felt more like what we are about. There’s still more to come, the manager made that clear after the game, there was still certain aspects that he wasn’t happy with, but it’s great to have that away point on the board and hopefully we can build on it.”

With the Clarets soaring following the result at the Theatre of Dreams, Heaton acknowledges that they need to back up their first away point of the season with a positive outcome against the Eagles tomorrow.

“It was a great point but that’s gone now and the focus is on Crystal Palace,” he said. “You can’t take your eye off the ball in this division for one second so the focus is all on that.

“We’re gearing up towards another tough Premier League game, we’re obviously at home, so we want to make sure that we impact on the game the way that we know we can and hopefully we’ll come away with the right result.”