Heaton's professionalism 'as good as it gets' - Dyche

Tom Heaton
Tom Heaton

Clarets boss Sean Dyche knows only too well how hard it can be physically and mentally to recover from a long-term injury.

But he feels Tom Heaton has the right mentality and is in the right place to come back as good as ever from a dislocated shoulder which could put him out of action until the new year.

Dyche himself suffered a back injury 20 years ago after joining Bristol City, which cost him the best part of two seasons at Ashton Gate, and he admitted: “It can be tough. I went through it with my back, the longer ones are the tougher ones to take because you can never see the end and it’s a long journey, but like most of our lives when you look back you think it went quite quickly.

“I had two seasons out with my back. One I did a pre-season, got injured at the end of it, then did another pre-season to get fit and did it again a day after my first game, then had to do another pre-season to get fit again, which was really tough, I couldn’t believe what was going on.

“So referencing that and how it feels it’s tough on the longer term stuff. The short term stuff it’s a couple of weeks and you crack on.

“It’s a good environment here and that helps, support from the medics and the sports science team, and from your mates.

“We’re pretty good I think at keeping players involved, we get them around the dressing room, we’re pretty inclusive with that, they’re part of what is going on.”

While Dyche is solely focused on getting Heaton back fit and well for Burnley, in a World Cup year, the injury is a big blow for the keeper’s chances of making the plane for Russia 2018, with England all bit assured of qualification.

There is also big competition for the three slots in Gareth Southgate’s squad, and Dyche said: “I think he’s still got plenty of time. It will be a longer-term injury but not as in a full season, we hope.

“I’m sure it crossed his mind quicker than mine, I was just thinking about getting the op done and getting him on the road to recovery.

“We’ll wait and see how it settles down.

“We won’t want to start going into the realms of luck too much, because Tom is one who has a bit of depth to his thinking on his profession and four and a half years ago he was getting relegated with Bristol City, so he won’t knock it too much.

“But it’s still relative to where you are and I’m sure at this moment there will be thought of ‘how quickly can I get right and when I can be available and up for selection’.

“We all know the extent to which Tom's professionalism goes, and he's as good as it gets. As regards rehab, as long as the surgery heals properly, which we've got no reason to think it won't, he'll be on top of that because he's ultra professional.”

Burnley's only other long term absentee is midfielder Dean Marney, who, after suffering a cruciate knee ligament problem at Arsenal in January, can now see the light at the end of the tunnel: “He’s going really well. He’s starting the end bit of going back to full fitness, and that can take time.

“He’s coming out of working on the grass on his own to really light work in groups, passing drills and things like that.

“It’s just really steady at the moment, but he’s in good spirits.

“He’s been through a lot so mentally and physically fit is important.”