NEWS & FEATURES

31/03/2008 14:20, Report by Nick Coppack in Rome
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Heaton's Euro chance

Tom Heaton's memorable week got even better when the young goalkeeper touched down in Italy with the rest of the United squad on Monday.

Heaton, who made his England Under-21 debut last Tuesday, is one of three goalkeepers included in United’s 21-man squad for the Champions League quarter-final clash with AS Roma.

With Edwin van der Sar a minor doubt (groin) and Ben Foster ineligible to play in Europe, Heaton may find himself on the bench for tomorrow’s first leg tie at the Stadio Olimpico.

Heaton's possible inclusion would cap a remarkable seven days, which began with an international appearance against Poland U21s at Molineux.

“It was great for me and I really enjoyed the game,” Heaton told Manchester United Radio.

“I’ve been involved in a few squads but I’ve always been watching from the bench or in the stands. This time I finally got on.”

A half-time substitute, Heaton kept a clean sheet and made one particularly impressive stop.

“I was happy with my performance,” he admitted before humbly downplaying his performance. “That save was okay but, to be honest, I think there would have been a few questions asked had it gone in. Maybe it looked a bit better than it actually was.”

The international call-up represents a major step in Heaton’s blossoming career and recognises his consistent performances for United’s Reserves.

At England level, Heaton can look up to experienced stoppers like David James and Paul Robinson, but it’s Edwin van der Sar who gives him day-to-day advice.

“I’ve got fantastic examples at this club,” Heaton said. “Look at Edwin: he’s 37 now and his performances this season have been second to none.

“I’ve learnt a lot from Edwin. I’m talking to him all the time and I couldn’t have asked for him to be any better towards me. I’m always picking stuff up from him, whether I’m watching him in his pre-game warm-up or talking to him at the training ground.

“There are certainly a lot of things in Edwin’s game I’d like to bring into mine. He’s so relaxed and composed and I want to try and mirror that.

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