Tom Heaton Secures Manchester United Return

Tom Heaton
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Manchester United have signed goalkeeper Tom Heaton on a free transfer following the expiration of his contract at Aston Villa.

The move sees Heaton, 35, return to the club he spent five years with at the beginning of his career.

Heaton has signed a two-year contract, with the option of a third year.

Manchester United Sign Tom Heaton

Tom Heaton Arrival Adds to Goalkeeper Department Following Sergio Romero Exit

Heaton offers Manchester United a safe pair of hands, bringing his Premier League experience back to Old Trafford. Adding to their goalkeeper department, following the exit of Argentine keeper Sergio Romero. Romero had fallen out-of-favour with Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – leading to his eventual omission from the squad for the 2020/21 season.

Having failed to agree a move away from the club, Romero suffered a wasteful year, often spending time away from the club.

It’s unclear what the future holds with David de Gea, Dean Henderson, Lee Grant and now Heaton on the books at the Theatre of Dreams.

Previous Spell With the Red Devils

Heaton spent most of his time with Manchester United out on loan. The Chester-born goalkeeper had spells with Swindon Town, Royal Antwerp, Cardiff City, Queens Park Rangers, Rochdale and Wycombe Wanderers before exiting permanently for a return to Cardiff.

He failed to make a senior appearance for Manchester United over the five-year period and will no doubt be looking forward to ending the wait for his debut during his second spell.

Heaton and his new boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did cross paths during their time at Old Trafford.

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Since Leaving United

Since leaving Manchester United, Heaton has had spells with Cardiff City and Bristol City, but most notably a lengthy time at Burnley before a recent stint at Villa Park.

Heaton enjoyed most success at Turf Moor, playing 200 games for Burnley, where he conceded 225 goals, keeping 65 clean sheets. Promoted to the Premier League on two occasions, including as champions in 2015/16 – when he was also named in the PFA’s Championship Team of the Year.

Making his England debut in 2016, a 2-1 win over Australia, Heaton joined a long list of Manchester United academy graduates to debut at senior international level. He has made just two further appearances for his country since.

His Role at Manchester United

Whilst he’s obviously not joining Manchester United to become the club’s number one goalkeeper, he is likely to be used sporadically and possibly most exclusively in cup competition.

Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manchester United have regularly gone far in cup competitions and Heaton might play a key role domestically in the seasons ahead.

Heaton is no stranger to his new role, having spent most of the last season as understudy to Emiliano Martinez, who was signed after Heaton suffered cruciate ligament damage during the 2019/20 season.

Incredible Feeling to Return

Tom Heaton told the club website following his return announcement: “For me to have the opportunity to come back after spending 13 great years here as a kid, it’s an incredible feeling and I’m really, really excited to get started.

“I’m just seeing it as a fantastic opportunity as I still feel I’ve got an awful lot to give and I’ve got the bit between my teeth.

“I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running,” Heaton added. “I feel in great shape and I’m looking forward to coming in to compete with the other goalkeepers.”

 

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