Heaton happy to fight for spot

Updated: 15/07/2024


Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton has returned to the England (15/8 Nations League outright) squad and insists he will relish the opportunity to battle with Everton’s Jordan Pickford for the number one jersey.

Heaton claimed the first of his three caps in a friendly clash with Australia in May 2016 but he hasn’t been involved since June 2017 after suffering a serious shoulder injury.

The 32-year-old did return to fitness at the back end of 2017-18 and was named on the standby list as England travelled to Russia for the 2018 World Cup.

During his absence from the international scene, Pickford appears to have cemented his place in the starting XI and he was a key figure at the showpiece event last summer.

Pickford has been first choice since starting in England’s World Cup warm-up clash with Nigeria last year and he even saved a penalty to help England win their first ever World Cup penalty shootout.

But the Everton man has allowed some mistakes to creep into his game domestically this season and some have suggested that Gareth Southgate could mix things up.

England (15/2 Euro 2020 outright) kick off their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign at home to the Czech Republic on Friday before heading across to Montenegro on Monday, and Heaton could win his fourth cap in one of those games.

Heaton says he is enjoying the experience of being back in the squad and is hoping give Southgate plenty to think about over the next week.

“I am enjoying it. I think he’s [Pickford] been outstanding wearing the England shirt. I thought he was incredible in the summer at the World Cup. I thought his performances were top drawer,” Heaton said.

“It’s never an easy thing to do to put an England jersey on but I thought he did it superbly well. You compete for the place because everyone wants to play. You try and get your things right and see what the manager decides.”

Odds subject to change

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