Tom Heaton more than open to a future return to Burnley


Seamus Leonard

Article image: Tom Heaton more than open to a future return to Burnley

Tom Heaton admits to harbouring hopes of returning to former club Burnley in a coaching or managerial capacity after his playing career ends.

The Aston Villa goalkeeper is currently sidelined with a knee ligament injury he sustained in Villa’s visit to Turf Moor in January.

Despite that setback at his old stomping ground, Heaton retains an emotional bond with the club he spent six seasons minding the net for.

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The 33-year-old twice helped the Clarets gain promotion to the Premier League during his time in Lancashire.

His consistent performances earned him international recognition with England, and led to Villa paying £8m for the stopper last summer.

The injury lay-off has given Heaton time to reflect on his future, and he admits thoughts of returning north have crossed his mind.

“I think staying in football, hopefully it will five or six years down the line, but I think it would be difficult to come away from,” he told The Independent.

“It is all I have ever done it, I absolutely love it. Coaching and management or something down that line would be great.

“I have got a connection with the football club (at Burnley) and if it is in and around there in the future then that would be fantastic.

“You never know but it is something that would massively appeal to me.”

The suspension of Premier League football means that the former Manchester United youth player has only missed seven games so far.

However, while he is loth to out a timeframe on his recovery, he doesn’t expect to return to action before the end of this disrupted season.