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Dyche Praise for Heaton Journey

17 November 2016

Sean Dyche paid tribute to the career journey Clarets’ captain Tom Heaton has been on after the Burnley number-one won this week won his second England cap.

Heaton played the second 45 minutes as England drew 2-2 with Spain in a friendly at Wembley on Tuesday night.

The Clarets’ keeper hasn’t looked back since moving to Turf Moor in 2013 and Dyche was delighted to see him gaining further international recognition – even if team-mate Michael Keane was left on the bench as Spain hit back with two late goals to deny England victory in Gareth Southgate's last game as interim manager before the FA looks to make a permanent appointment. 

“We signed Tom from Bristol City after they had been relegated, so to be where he is four years later is fantastic credit to him, first of all, and to the environment here, because I think it’s helped on his journey to where he is now,” said the Burnley boss.

“I thought he applied himself very well. It's tremendous for him, tremendous for us as a team and tremendous for Burnley as a club to have a recognised England international goalkeeper.

"And Keano of course. I think that's a real good sign of what everyone has played their part in achieving, so far, over the last four years of my time here.

“I did think he might get 10 minutes, even if it was to get a feel of it.

“But I understand that Gareth is working hard with the team to get what he needs as well, not just for the team, but for himself and see how that pans out for him.”

Heaton and Keane became the first Burnley duo to earn a place in a senior England squad since Martin Dobson and Alan Stevenson were selected together for a friendly against Portugal in 1974.

The pair have both enjoyed outstanding starts to the season, forming a solid defensive base to Dyche’s side in tandem with the ultra-consistent Ben Mee as Burnley have climbed into the top half of the Premier League.

“The triangle with Tom and the two centre-halves has been very good,” added Dyche.

“It’s been hard for big Tarky (James Tarkowski) and Kevin Long because they are honest lads and good lads, and they are probably look at the other two and thinking they’ve been really strong.

“But beyond that, I think there is a learning curve that comes with being in the Premier League, and it’s not an easy one, and I think the team has adapted well to the challenges.”

Dyche made his first change to the Clarets' back line in the Premier League this season when injury forced Stephen Ward out of the left-back slot for Burnley's 3-2 win over Crystal Palace before the international break.

Ward has trained this week and, according to Dyche, 'has a chance' of being fit for selection for next Monday night's trip to West Bromwich Albion.

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