Heaton is a top keeper - Dyche

Tom Heaton
Tom Heaton
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Clarets boss Sean Dyche knew Tom Heaton had what it takes after being relegated with Bristol City to League 1.

Dyche was close to taking Heaton to Watford before leaving Vicarage Road in the summer of 2012.

But 12 months later, despite Heaton suffering the drop with the Robins, Dyche made him his first permanent Burnley signing.

And the strong mentality the former Manchester United man displayed in tough times at Ashton Gate has developed further at Turf Moor, earning him a regular place in the England squad.

Dyche said of his skipper, who received acclaim for a superb performance in the 3-1 defeat at Southampton on Sunday, with his early save from Charlie Austin having to be seen to be believed.

He said: "He’s developed into a really good goalkeeper over time.

"It’s a strange story and it’s the realities of football, I got slaughtered for bringing him in, he was my first signing, he’d just got relegated at Bristol City.

"I didn’t have a crystal ball and I couldn’t tell you he was going to play for England, but I thought he developed in a tough season.

"In a team having a really tough time and with goals going in, he never went under and I thought that’s a really good weapon for a goalkeeper.

"He’s got that mentality, he stays focused and switched on and as all top keepers do."

Heaton has made more saves than any other keeper so far in the Premier League this season, and Dyche added: "I think Tom would say the back four work very hard in front of him and so do the team and at times, even in the Premier League he’s been well protected. I’d be surprised if he didn’t value what was going on in front of him.

"When he’s called upon he does very well. On a day like Sunday when they're making chances, he’s called upon more often than not."