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Heaton Thanks Clarets Staff After Second England Call

30 August 2015

Tom Heaton says he owes a debt of gratitude to goalkeeping coach Billy Mercer and manager Sean Dyche after his second England call-up.

The Clarets captain is the only player outside of the Barclays Premier League to be selected by Roy Hodgson for the European Championship qualifiers against San Marino and Switzerland.

And Heaton has paid tribute to the pair for helping him mature into a more senior player during his time at Turf Moor.

He said: “Billy has been absolutely outstanding from day one and I can’t thank him enough really. I think my game has improved a lot since I’ve been at the club.

“That’s all aspects of it, technically, game understanding, and the full lot. Obviously the manager, and all the staff really, have been fantastic and I really feel like they’ve helped me turn the corner in becoming a more senior player.

“I feel I’ve matured in the two and a bit years I’ve been here and hopefully I can continue that under their tenure and get better.”

After becoming the first Burnley player to receive a senior England call since Martin Dobson in 1974 back in May, Heaton expressed a strong desire to lay down a marker and remain in the Three Lions plans.

While he did not see any competitive action in the games against Republic of Ireland or Slovenia, it is clear he has done just that and he says joining up with the nation’s elite once more will be about developing further as well as competing with Joe Hart and Jack Butland for the number one shirt.

Heaton added: “I’m very pleased. Dropping down to the Championship sometimes makes it difficult but I’ve said all along that all I can focus on is performing. I’ll continue to try and do so and it’s nice to have that rewarded.

“One of the aims when I got the first call-up was to try and stay in the squad – thankfully that’s happened.

“That will certainly be my aim again to make sure I do enough and make enough impact so they want me back again.

“It’ll be about learning, developing and competing. I’m really excited to join up with the group again and do that.”

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