Heaton creates his perfect player for United
Manchester United goalkeeper Tom Heaton is the latest Red to take on the challenge of building his perfect footballer, by using the attributes of different players.
Since returning to Old Trafford in July 2021 for his second spell at the club, Heaton has been surrounded by a wide array of talents and training with his team-mates every day at Carrington has clearly given him plenty of food for thought in this fun feature.
Watch our exclusive video below, or scroll down to read more, to discover which colleagues our experienced shot-stopper has opted for in different areas of the game...
Tom says: “We’ve got a lot of quality but if you pushed me, I think I would say Rashy’s right foot. Purely because of the power he can generate on it. If he is shaping up to shoot, usually the lads are moving out of the way of it because a rocket’s coming in. He can certainly tonk it and usually with a fair bit of quality and accuracy, so it can be difficult [to save].”
LEFT FOOT: LUKE SHAW
Tom says: “You’ve got Antony coming inside with his left foot, Amad, who’s back from on loan, and Licha’s come in with that left foot too. But I’m going to go with Luke. Since I’ve been back at the club, his quality with that left peg is incredible. We saw him slot into centre-half as well as left-back last season.”
Tom says: “Rashy goes past people like they’re not there, so he’s going to have to be up there. Azza [Aaron Wan-Bissaka]... there aren't many people that get past Azza at right-back, he’s obviously rapid. But in a straight-line sprint between those two, I would imagine Rashy would beat him, just.”
FINISHING: ANTHONY MARTIAL
Tom says: “For me it would probably be Anthony Martial: he can bend it, he can whip it, he can go with power, he can lift it over you. He’s got that composure, that sort of calmness in front of goal that makes it difficult for a goalkeeper. [As a keeper] you very often want people to take a shot early or to force them into something but with Anthony it’s very difficult to affect him, so when he’s through on goal it usually ends up in the net.”
Tom says: “I think Harry beats most players in the air and he’s good at getting on the end of set-pieces from crosses. Arguably with how good he is, I would be pushing him to score more goals. Defensively, you rarely see him beaten in the air from a long ball or set piece. For that reason, it would be Harry.”
PASSING: CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN
Tom says: “All the midfielders at the football club are top at that: Christian, Casa, Bruno, loads of them, all the midfielders. Mason Mount would be in that bracket too. But I think if you pushed me, with his technique, left and right foot, I would probably say Christian.”
Tom says: “That would be either Licha or Casa. You know Casa loves a tackle from midfield, we’ve seen him flying into a few. But I think I will pick Licha as he does it a little more often as a central defender. With the aggression and tenacity he uses in his tackling, and the use of his strength and his body, he’s been top class.”
Tom says: “That would probably be either Antony or Amad. Obviously both are very tricky players. Their centre of gravity and balance are incredible. They put people on the back foot and get the opposition off balance, so it's difficult to pick between those two. They’re the sort of players who will sit you down, keep dribbling around you and make you look a little bit silly at times, so you have to keep an eye on those tricky ones! I think, probably just because I’ve seen a little bit more of him so far, with Amad being out on loan, I would pick Antony at the moment.”
MENTALITY: RAPHAEL VARANE
Tom says: “Of course, you don’t play for Manchester United without being strong mentally, I think that pretty much goes throughout the squad. But I’m going to go with Rapha with what he’s done in the past at other clubs and his performances since he’s walked through the door here. He has a really strong mentality with how he goes about it, how he performs in all the games he plays, whatever he’s doing day-to-day. He's not massively outspoken but when he speaks, people usually listen.”