Sean Dyche insists Tom Heaton has a future at Burnley but understands the goalkeeper’s frustration at being left out of the side. Heaton’s status as Burnley number one, and potentially the same position with England, looked assured until he suffered a serious shoulder injury in September 2017 and saw Nick Pope excel in his place.
With Pope struck down by his own shoulder issue, a minor injury early this season resulted in Heaton missing out to new signing Joe Hart, who has now established himself as the club’s number one.
At 32 and with international ambitions, sitting on the bench is understandably frustrating for Heaton, and he told reporters he would have to keep his options open in January when the transfer window reopens.
Dyche hinted he would not stand in Heaton’s way if he feels he does need to leave, saying: “I thought he spoke very well because he’s a fantastic professional and I expect him to do that, and that’s a big part of why he’s club captain. He’s just telling the truth.
“Me and Tom go back a long way, he was my first signing here, so we’ve certainly got an open dialogue about what goes on. He’s been very, very unfortunate. In due course, whatever needs to be worked out, we will find a way of working it out.
“He knows for as long as he can know that he’s got a future here, it’s just what part of that future is right for him and for us – but mainly for him at this stage.
“Football changes very, very quickly. With keepers it’s more difficult because it can be a longer situation but, as we’ve seen with Tom and then with Popey, it just changes like that. I don’t want anything bad to happen to anyone here, but it just sometimes changes. Nothing’s done at this moment in time.”