Burnley’s Dyche compares Heaton to De Gea

Daniel Storey

Burnley boss Sean Dyche says Tom Heaton deserves to rank alongside the best goalkeepers in the world after a series of stunning performances in the Premier League this season.

Dyche can still recall the time he was “slaughtered” for making Heaton his first signing as Clarets boss when he plucked the then-untested stopper from freshly relegated Bristol City in May 2013.

But Heaton went on to earn his first full England call-up two years later – and last week’s stunning one-handed save to deny Charlie Austin earned comparisons with Gordon Banks.

However Dyche preferred to pinpoint similarities between Heaton and Manchester United keeper David De Gea as evidence that the 30-year-old has it in him to continue to improve.

Dyche said:

“I got slaughtered for bringing him in because he was my first signing and he’d just got relegated.

“I didn’t have a crystal ball, I didn’t know he was going to play for England, but I remember watching him back then and thinking that even in a team that was having a really tough time, he never went under.

“That is a great weapon to have as a goalkeeper and I think he’s got that mentality as I think all top keepers do.

“I watched David De Gea the other night and I thought he was tremendous – not just his saves but the way he is away from the ball, prowling across his box and reading the game.

“I think Tom has a bit of that in the way he has developed in his career over the last two years and as he continues to do so.”

Meanwhile Dyche confirmed Belgium midfielder Steven Defour will miss Saturday’s Premier League clash with Everton after suffering a hamstring injury during last week’s defeat at St Mary’s.