There is so much love for Heaton's debut

Thursday 09 December 2021 11:53

Manchester United goalkeeper Tom Heaton made his senior debut for the club nearly 20 years on from first joining the Academy, during Wednesday night’s draw with Young Boys.

The 35-year-old’s evening started from the bench, as he watched a much-changed Reds side go in 1-1 at the break with the Swiss champions, in our sixth and final Champions League group-stage match. 

Then, just after the hour mark, Tom got the opportunity that he has “been working a long time” for, as he was introduced for his United bow in front of over 75,000 fans inside Old Trafford. 

He replaced Dean Henderson between the sticks, who embraced our veteran Academy graduate as he stepped onto the turf at the Theatre of Dreams for the inaugural time as a first-team player.

Heaton went on to play the final 30 minutes or so, as United took a point from our last Group F outing.


Having left the club in 2010 to play regular football at senior level elsewhere, Heaton returned home to his boyhood club at the start of this season.

Although his matchday opportunities have been limited thus far, there is no doubting the impact that his experience has already had behind the scenes, and how valued his character is within the dressing room. 

That much was clear from his social-media accounts on Wednesday, when his fellow Reds commented on the above post to congratulate our 240th Academy graduate on his special evening. 

Here is what has been said…

Dean Henderson: I love this guy!! Congratulations on the CL debut ❤️
Bruno Fernandes: You deserve big man 💪🏼
Donny van de Beek: Legend 💪❤️
Harry Maguire: Brilliant mate 👏
Anthony Martial: Yes bro 😍
Alex Telles: Tommm 🔥👏🏽🙌🏽
Diogo Dalot: Top guy ❤️
David De Gea: 😍
Scott McTominay: 😍
Juan Mata: 👏👏

Heaton, of course, wasn’t the only Academy-hailing Red to be celebrating a senior debut on Wednesday night, with youngsters Charlie Savage and Zidane Iqbal introduced in the closing stages. 

Both also took to social media to mark the occasion with posts that you can see among our Reds' post-match reaction below…