Tom Heaton: 'Incredible' England call-up is 2015 highlight

Tuesday 06 Oct 2015
Tom Heaton has been named in three successive squads

England goalkeeper Tom Heaton admits his international call-up has been the highlight of 2015.

The Burnley captain enjoyed an impressive season in the Premier League last term, despite the campaign ending in relegation for Sean Dyche’s side.

It was that form in the spotlight which caught the eye of Roy Hodgson and his coaching staff, leading to Heaton being named in the squad to face Republic of Ireland and Slovenia in June.

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And the 29-year-old, who says he never expected to be called up last May, still reflects on that day with great pride.

"It was obviously a fantastic moment, I was absolutely over the moon," he told VAVEL UK. "It was incredible, the highlight of the season for me.

"I was delighted to be there but wanted to make sure that I did myself justice, looked to get better while I was there and learn as much as I could."

It was not an entirely new experience for Heaton, having started his career with Manchester United alongside a number of the Three Lions squad and represented England at all levels from the Under-16s through to the U21s.

But as the only representative from the Championship in the current squad, Heaton will report for duty at St. George’s Park on Tuesday ready to push fellow keepers Joe Hart and Jack Butland hard.

"Obviously the standard’s very, very high," he added. 

Captain Wayne Rooney and Tom Heaton prepare to board the England plane

Three Lions captain Wayne Rooney and Tom Heaton prepare to board the plane to San Marino last month

"It’s the best players in the country coming together and I’ve certainly found that in the goalkeeping department, having worked with Joe [Hart] and Jack Butland, Rob Green in the previous trip and [goalkeeping coach] Dave Watson.

"There’s certainly a lot of high standards there, it’s great to be involved and it’s nice to be on that stage really. 

"It certainly reminds me, the tempo of it, of Manchester United training back from when I was a bit younger with the first team. 

"I have to say it’s great to be in and around it, I’m thoroughly enjoying it and I hope it continues."

Watch Tom Heaton training for England alongside Joe Hart and Robert Green with coach Dave Watson

Hodgson’s squad will be training at St. George’s Park this week before playing their penultimate Euro Qualifier with Estonia at Wembley on Friday. 

It is then over to Lithuania, where England will finish their group fixtures in Vilnius.

Tickets for Friday’s game at Wembley are still on sale now. Please click here for more details.

By Nicholas Veevers