When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Burnley FC blog: Heaton has been brolly good deal
HE arrived twirling an umbrella, like a modern day Mary Poppins.
Unlike Danny Ings or Sam Vokes, he has scored no goals and provided no assists.
But it is no coincidence that Burnley’s rise to the top of the Championship table has happened following the signing of goalkeeper Tom Heaton.
More often than not, the top teams have a top keeper.
Think Iker Casillas and Spain, Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar at Manchester United, Petr Cech in the Champions League final for Chelsea.
Whether by accident or by design, Burnley now appear to have the keeper they need between the sticks.
He has not had to make outstanding saves in every game, and there was even an early season blemish with a harsh red card at Brighton.
But what you see is what you get with Heaton. He is steady, he is assured and he instils confidence in his defence.
That surely is the most important ingredient as a goalkeeper.
There are many reasons why Burnley now sit top of the table.
The form of Ings and Vokes no doubt, and the guidance of their highly impressive manager Sean Dyche.
If Dyche does not win the manager of the month award for September when it is announced tomorrow then there is something wrong.
Dyche has not had the finances of others. He has had to do things differently.
Heaton arrived on a free this summer. He was a replacement for Lee Grant, who was reluctant to take a pay cut at Burnley and instead returned to Derby.
Is Grant – along with the likes of Chris McCann and Martin Paterson – now starting to wonder whether he made a mistake by leaving?
As it turned out, his departure may have turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Burnley.
Grant was a decent man, and had a decent enough season last year.
But there was an element of unpredictability about him - unpredictability that is not ideal in a keeper.
He was athletic, and could make the most breathtaking of saves.
But he could also occasionally drop a cross, or fail to stop a shot that was directed more or less straight at him. That uncertainty cannot have helped the defence in front of him at times.
In 10 league games this season Derby have conceded 17 goals and Burnley just six.
With Brian Jensen not getting any younger, for at least some of the last three years there was a feeling that Burnley needed to strengthen in the goalkeeping department.
When Heaton signed in May, posing nonchalantly for pictures with a club umbrella, there was an immediate air of understated confidence about him.
This was no ‘wally with the brolly’, more the stellar fella with the umbrella.
He has taken that confidence on to the pitch. Jensen’s superb form in Burnley’s promotion season five years ago – surely the best season of his career – is a reminder of how important a keeper at the peak of his game can be.
In Heaton, hopefully Burnley have found a keeper who can be just as important.
Comments are closed on this article.