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Tom Heaton: I Want To Cement An England Spot

5 June 2015

Tom Heaton is hoping to lay down a marker during his time with England so that he can become a permanent fixture in the squad.

Heaton, who became the first Burnley player since Martin Dobson in 1974 to get an England call-up, had his first training session with the Three Lions on Thursday.

And as he settles in to his surroundings at St George’s Park before the trip to Dublin, the 29-year-old stopper has challenged himself to cement a place amongst the world’s best.

He said: “We arrived on Wednesday and it was a case of meeting all the players and the staff. Quite a few of which I’ve come across before so it’s been brilliant so far.

“It’s an incredible facility here at St George’s with everything at hand. This morning we trained on an excellent pitch, then there is the gym, the warm-up room and afterwards you go in the ice bath.

“There’s everything here and I’m really enjoying it so far.

“I’ve had a bit of grief off Gary Neville saying I’m supposed to be quiet in the corner on my first trip but that’s not my way.

“I’m delighted, I’m thoroughly enjoying it but I’m also here to do a job and I want to perform for my country.

“It’s fantastic to be here for myself, the Goalkeeping Coach Billy Mercer, the manager, the staff and everyone connected with the club.

“But I have to make it clear my ambition goes far beyond just getting into the squad and making it a one-time thing.

“I’ve got my foot in the door and I want to make sure I make an impact so that I can come back again.”

Heaton could make his senior England debut against the Republic of Ireland on Sunday in Dublin, before Roy Hodgson’s men take on Slovenia in a European Championship qualifier next week.
The Clarets stopper kept 10 Premier League clean sheets but is likely to face stiff competition from Joe Hart and Rob Green for the number one shirt.

And while he is hopeful of game time for his country, Heaton is focused on showing what he can do on the training pitch, after coming with no expectations.

“We’re here to play games but I’ve come here with no expectation of that. It’s important that I get in and show what I can do and feel at home as soon as possible.

“That starts with the training but with regards to the matches that is out of my control. There is certainly a hope there.

 “I think I’m looking forward to testing myself at the highest level more than anything. It’s been a while since I was at United and that was a very good level but this is probably above that.

“You can see the quality and I want to keep pushing my game on. It’s certainly been a big thing from me, the message since I signed at Burnley, to keep progressing and this is another chance to keep doing that.

“You can’t get away with anything less than the best.”

Watch the full interview with Tom from St George's Park later today on Clarets Player.

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