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Skipper Set For The Off

6 July 2018

Tom Heaton is ready to hit the ground running as the Clarets prepare to ramp up their pre-season.

A week-long training camp in Southern Ireland next week will serve as the foundation for a busy schedule ahead of the new Premier League season, which starts in just five weeks’ time.
Another highlight will be the club’s first European campaign in 51 years, when they travel to Aberdeen at the end of the month for the first leg of their Europa League second round qualifier.
And Heaton admits he is ready to get back to work following a frustrating season overcoming a dislocated shoulder.
“It will be nice to go back to Cork. I remember last time it was a tough trip and I’m sure the manager has the same sort of thing planned. The rumour is the tractor tyres are still there!” the skipper told Clarets Player HD.
 Heaton feels the heat in Cork in 2013, while team mates face a tyre-ing test of stamina
“It’s been an excellent start this week and everyone looks fit and feels ready. The standard of training has been excellent and on a personal note I’m delighted to be back 100 per cent, so I am really looking forward to next week.
“It should be a good trip that brings everyone back together. We spend a lot of time together as it is, but when you are together 24/7 the bonds probably get a bit stronger and we usually do a few things like team bonding sessions. 
“They become like an anchor point for the season. We are tight group as it is, but it just tightens up the group more.”
The two-legged tie against Aberdeen provides the Clarets’ squad with an opportunity to make a mark in Europe for the first time since their Fairs Cup campaign in 1966/67.
And Heaton is keen to dovetail a run in the Europa league with the weekly demands of a Premier League season.
“I think it will be a tough tie because their season starts before ours, but we will be ready and we’ll approach the two-legged game in the right manner,” said Heaton.
"The feeling is one of excitement really. It’s still three weeks away and that’s a long time in pre-season and although it’s always there in the back of your mind, no one is getting ahead of themselves.
“You could feel that excitement last season, that positive journey and the connection with the fans and we want to take that forward. 
“It’s a great marker being in Europe, but we don’t want it to end there. We want to kick on and see how far we can go. 
“We’ve got another big Premier League season coming up, but we want to set our stall out and keep moving things forward and keep developing.”
Had things worked out differently, Heaton could have been an absentee at the start of pre-season, as part of Gareth Southgate’s England World Cup squad.
And the Clarets keeper, who was placed on stand-by for the tournament, admits he is delighted to see the Three Lions – including fellow Claret Nick Pope - in with a big chance of reaching a first semi-final since 1990.
Heaton mused: “I got back fit towards the end of last season and to get the call to be on stand-by for England was great. 
“I was delighted to be involved to be honest. The two weeks I spent with them before they flew to Russia there was a good vibe around the camp and a lot of practice has gone into what is being achieved out there. 
“They’ve talked about ‘owning the moment’ and not rushing to taking the penalties, as we’ve seen in the past.
“I think we saw that the other night; there’s a calmness and they take their time and that made a big difference the other night.”
To view the full video with Tom, please click above.

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