Brian Jensen knows all about a battle to be Burnley’s number one. 

The great Dane always had to fight for the gloves during his 10 years at Turf Moor, more often than not coming out on top. 

Danny Coyne, Gabor Kiraly and Diego Penny were among those who could not shift the man known as the ‘Beast’ as he made 311 appearances in all competitions for the Clarets

Now the 43-year-old looks on from afar as Tom Heaton, Joe Hart and Nick Pope jockey for position to be Sean Dyche’s preferred choice between the sticks. 

Pope’s big breakthrough saw him head to the World Cup in 2018 before an injury opened the door for new arrival Hart. 

Things didn’t go to plan though and with Burnley’s Premier League status increasingly in jeopardy, Heaton was back at the end of the calendar year with the captain then instrumental in steering the Clarets to a fourth straight top flight campaign. 

Lancashire Telegraph:

There’s been plenty of debate over the past couple of seasons about who should be getting the nod but Jensen has not doubt about who is the pick of the three England goalkeepers at Dyche’s disposal. 

“You can’t doubt the quality of Joe Hart and Nick Pope but Heats just changed the whole dynamic of the team,” said Jensen.

“You have to think about the team and not the person.

“Personally I think Heats is the better goalkeeper. 

“No disrespect to anybody but you can see the difference.”

Hart was hoping to rebuild his stalling career at Turf Moor but in the eyes of Jensen, now the goalkeeping coach at Bury, the Manchester City man’s days at Turf Moor are numbered. 

The 32-year-old’s last appearance of the season turned out to be the 5-1 hammering at home to Everton on Boxing Day, which looking back is accepted by many as being a turning point for Dyche’s side. 

Jensen insists however that Hart did little wrong in the 21 appearances he made before the Clarets boss returned to his skipper as he looked to steady the ship. 

“In my opinion, I think it’s the right time for Joe Hart to leave the club,” said the popular shot-stopper, who left Turf Moor back in 2013.

“Joe Hart was playing and was going well but they were conceding some goals and people started questioning him and the team. 

“I didn’t really see that Joe Hart did too much wrong but then the gaffer made the decision to put Heats in and it changed the whole drive of the team, the whole philosophy. 

“It just changed the team massively. 

“It was one of the key moments of the season.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

The goalkeeping dynamic at Turf Moor took another turn in the days following the end of a campaign where the Clarets finished 15th. 

It was announced Pope had signed a new contract until the summer of 2023 with the option of a further 12 months. 

The 27-year-old made just two appearances last season after dislocating his shoulder in the Europa League against Aberdeen. 

For Jensen, Pope putting pen to paper was something that raised an eyebrow. 

“If you look at it, if Heats plays for another five or six years then Pope is 33,” he said. 

“I don’t know, I think they are just looking for a good, solid goalkeeper that can go in who can take over if Heats is injured, touch wood that’s not going to happen, or if he had a little bit of a dip in form and all that. 

“Then you have a really good number two. 

“It’s a weird situation. From my personnel perspective I wouldn’t have signed a new deal. 

“I would have gone out and played. He is up against serious competition.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

Supporting the three England men last season were Anders Lindegaard, who has now been released at the end of his contract, and Adam Legzdins.

The former, previously with Manchester United and Preston North End made his only appearances in the Europa League against Aberdeen when covering for Pope. 

The latter has featured as an overage player for the Under-23s having arrived from Birmingham in August 2017 and hasn’t made a first-team appearance for the club. 

For Jensen, five is too many senior goalkeepers in one dressing room. 

“As well as the three England goalkeepers you had a full Danish international and Adam Legzdins,” Jensen said.

“At the end of the day it was maybe a privilege to have five senior goalkeepers.

“It’s not for me. I think you need three good goalkeepers and then maybe a fourth scholar that comes through the ranks and learns from the other ones. 

“But to have five senior goalkeepers, I know (Clarets goalkeeping coach) Billy Mercer and he’s been really busy!

“Billy will not accept anything other than going in and working hard. 

“You have to do what you have to do otherwise there’s a bit of a rollocking coming towards you. 

“It’s not a bad situation but you need to keep all of them happy.” 

Looking at the Clarets as a whole Jensen was delighted to see them come through a tough first half of the campaign and secure safety with time to spare.

Lancashire Telegraph:  

Now, the challenge is for Dyche to guide his side back to the top half of the Premier League having started last season in the Europa League.

Key to that, according to Jensen, will be recruiting well between now and the opening day on Saturday, August 10.  

“They’re doing brilliant,” he said.

“It was a tough season with the Europa League, that took its toll and you can see how important it is to have a big squad. It has to be a big squad that can actually compete. 

“There’s no point in the gaffer Sean Dyche, and he’s said it, just looking for players to strengthen the squad, he needs players that can go in and do a job for him.

“Then if anyone gets injured they can slot straight into it. 

“It’s important to get the right players that will suit the whole philosophy. 

“It’s working but obviously he needs a few players this season, I think, to push further up the table and not get in a relegation battle. 

“It’s so far, so good though, I think they’ve done absolutely brilliant.”