TOM Heaton admits thoughts of leaving Burnley this month have been placed on the back burner after his return to the Clarets starting XI.

The 32-year-old made his first Premier League appearance since September 2017 in the weekend win over West Ham and marked it with a clean sheet and three points.

Boss Sean Dyche made the decision to drop summer signing Joe Hart to the bench and restore Heaton to the side and the Clarets captain admits a Turf Moor exit is 'the last thing on his mind.'

“I never wanted to leave the football club, it’s just the fact that I wasn’t playing that I would have had to," said the goalkeeper.

“But after being back playing today it’s the last thing on my mind to be honest.

"At 32 I don't really have much time to waste. Not for one minute did I want to go anywhere but sometimes it has got to be looked at.

"That probably changes now. It's great to be back out there and I can't tell you how pleased I am to be back out on the pitch and pull on that shirt again,"

Heaton is one of three England internationals on Burnley's books along with Hart and Nick Pope who is nearing a return to full fitness after picking up a shoulder injury in the Europa League tie with Aberdeen in the summer.

When all three are available it will leave Dyche with a tough decision to make and Heaton admits his thoughts are on his own game rather than any potential selection dilemma facing the manager.

"It's an interesting dynamic with three goalies and obviously we've got Agam Legzdins and Anders Lindegaard as well," Heaton added.

"We've got five in the goalkeeping department at the moment. It's an interesting dynamic but you can only ever focus on yourself and what you're doing.

"That's what I've done, I've been trying to improve while I haven't been playing and tried to get better at different things. I've just had to wait for that opportunity."