Heaton keen to push United teammates
Manchester United goalkeeper Tom Heaton says he aims to challenge his teammates for a place in the starting XI after getting his first minutes since re-joining the club.
Heaton kept a clean sheet in the first half against Derby County as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side began their pre-season campaign. Lee Grant took over between the sticks for the second 45.
Speaking exclusively to MUTV following the Reds 2-1 victory at Pride Park, Heaton explained that among his aims following his Old Trafford return is earning a starting place.
“That’s the plan,” he said. “Of course I’ve had a fair bit of experience under my belt so I think I can add perhaps a different dimension to the department. There’ll be a professional respect and support all the way through it. But personally that’s the aim, everywhere I’ve been in my career you step on and try and get in the team.”
He added: “Of course I’m aware of the challenge here. [There are] some fantastic goalkeepers here. Lee Grant today, the two young boys. It’s a fantastic goalkeeping department. But personally, of course you come here and want to try and get in the team.
“That’s what I’ll be trying to do, but at the same time making sure there’s a support and an element of competitiveness throughout the department.”
Heaton made a couple of fantastic saves in the first half, the highlight being a quick, strong hand to prevent Phil Jagielka's flick flying into the back of the net.
Describing his pre-season the stopper said: “It’s getting the body used to hitting the floor again, it’s usually pretty hard [at this time of year] as well so it takes a bit of getting used to - it can be a bit of a shock to the system.
“For me it was great to get started [after] seven weeks off. With the Euros, it was quite a long summer if you weren’t involved in it. So it was nice to get back out there, meet a few of the boys.
"Starting to get a good relationship with a few of the young boys which has been nice, [it's] not always possible when you join up with the first team squad so that’s been good.”
The Reds now head off on a week-long training camp ahead of their next pre-season outing away to QPR, something which Heaton is looking forward to.
“You see so much of each other and that’s how it is through so much of the season so it’s good to sort of have that. You get that sort of imprinted in.
"You build those relationships, find out how people work. So it should be a really good week. I think we’ve got another week further down the line that when everyone’s back we’ll do that again so nice to get the first one under the belt this week and it should be a good week."