Tom is a perfect fit for England!
Clarets boss Sean Dyche fully understands why model professional Tom Heaton is being considered in the same bracket as England goalkeepers Joe Hart and Jack Butland.
The 29-year-old earned his third successive call up for Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions and will be among the group for the penultimate UEFA Euro 2016 Group E game against Estonia tonight at Wembley (kick off 7-45 p.m.).
The Turf Moor skipper, who has added two cleans sheets this term to the 10 he kept in the Premier League, will also travel to Vilnius as qualifying culminates at the LFF Stadionas against Lithuania on Monday.
Heaton, who became the first Burnley player to be named in a senior England squad since Martin Dobson in 1974, has been faultless so far this season, and has impressed sufficiently in the England set up to retain his place ahead of keepers performing week in, week out in the top flight, the likes of John Ruddy and Alex McCarthy, and Dyche said: “It’s a good mixed message in a good way, it’s good for his family, for him, all the people that support him and his team-mates and the club.
“Theres an immense amount of credit to Roy and his staff, if you’re not playing at the top level, people ask ‘why are you involved?’, but they’re looking through it, they’ve had him at close quarters and know what he’s about.
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“I know Dave Watson a little bit and he’s been very pleased with how he’s gone about it. Tom, of course, has played in the Premier League and had a very good season with us.
“The numbers are getting less at international level, which is another debate we won’t go into, but the point is, it shows a more open view from the England set up, that they are seeing who else is knocking on the door.
“It’s not important which division you are playing in if they think you are of high enough quality.
“A lot of it at international level, on top of ability, is your temperament and how you can handle it.”
Heaton received his first international call up for the drab draw against the Republic of Ireland at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium in June. He then watched from the sidelines as England beat Slovenia, secured their place in France with the 6-0 thumping of minnows San Marino and overcome Switzerland as striker Wayne Rooney made history.
“Tom won’t be thinking he’s established, for him it’s fantastic though,” said Dyche.
“I have a good relationship with Ray Lewington and they have teams of scouts, and they look at players’ character traits as well, they are massive.
“I haven’t played at that level, but you have to be able to deal with what it is, and he’s a very solid, steady character, immaculate professional, very willing to learn, very open-minded, always accepting of information, so I only presume he carries on that with England and that’s been recognised.”
Dyche added: “Behind all that, you have to stop the ball going in the net, and he’s a good habit of doing that.
“It starts with big displays and then they start with the background checks, sometimes they look at younger players and keep them on record and see how they mature, but someone like Tom, he’s a rounded character and they’ll know a bit about him anyway.
“Then they see him perform in the Championship, then the Premier League, and he performed very well.
“We didn’t concede a massive amount of goals. So that’s all recognised, then you get your chance and it’s about how you handle it.
“They get you in and say ‘we can see what we thought we saw, now what’s underneath that, and what can you add to the group?”