Tom Heaton is aiming high.
Tom Heaton has said that he is aiming to nail down a Manchester United starting spot despite stiff competition from fellow goalkeepers David De Gea and Dean Henderson.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer swapped between De Gea and Henderson when choosing his number one goalkeeper last season and now that Heaton has rejoined the club, the Norwegian has found himself another experienced option.
Tom Heaton brings Premier League experience.
Heaton re-signed for the Red Devils earlier this month, having left the club in search of regular playing time back in 2010.
In the interim, the now 35-year-old has established himself as a trustworthy stopper, lining out for both Burnley and Aston Villa in the Premier League and winning three England caps.
While some may have suspected that Heaton was brought in to battle with Lee Grant for the third-choice goalkeeper spot, Heaton has set his sights higher than that.
Tom Heaton: “I can add a different dimension.”
“That’s the plan,” Heaton said when asked by the United media team if he intends to fight for a place in Solskjaer’s starting line-up this season.
“Of course I’ve had a fair bit of experience under my belt so I think I can add perhaps a different dimension to the department. There’ll be a professional respect and support all the way through it. But personally that’s the aim, everywhere I’ve been in my career you step on and try and get in the team.”
Heaton kept a clean sheet in the first half of United’s pre-season friendly with Derby County on Sunday, before being replaced by Grant at half-time in the 2-1 victory.
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“A fantastic goalkeeping department.”
“Of course I’m aware of the challenge here,” the Chester-born stopper added. “There are some fantastic goalkeepers here. It’s a fantastic goalkeeping department. But personally, of course you come here and want to try and get in the team.”
De Gea is not currently involved in United’s pre-season after being away with Spain at Euro 2020 while Henderson is nursing a hip injury which forced him to withdraw from England’s squad at the tournament.
Henderson started 25 games in all competitions last season compared to De Gea’s 36, with the Spaniard’s last contribution being a missed penalty that handed Villarreal the Europa League trophy in May’s final in Gdansk.