UTD Podcast: Why initiation songs are vital
Manchester United goalkeeper Tom Heaton speaks about initiation songs and his return to the club in the latest UTD Podcast, out on Monday.
In the 86th edition of our official club podcast, Heaton takes centre stage. The goalkeeper rejoined the Reds this summer 11 years after leaving to seek first-team opportunities elsewhere.
During his chat with presenters Sam Homewood, Helen Evans and ex-Reds defender David May, the 35-year-old with three England caps says it’s great to be back at United but also takes us back to the time when he started his career with the club.
The fascinating episode is available to listen to exclusively in the Official App from Monday at 17:00 BST and on other streaming platforms from Tuesday.
“It feels great,” Heaton said, when asked about how it is to be back where it all started.
“You know, I've joined a fantastic goalkeeping department. Obviously David [De Gea] and Dean [Henderson], and Lee Grant, who I've known for quite a long time, is a fantastic goalkeeper and a great athlete.
“I’ve enjoyed working with the young boys as well, Nathan Bishop and Matej Kovar. They have obviously got great careers ahead. I think both of them are sort of where I was [at their age], looking for that experience.”
Although there are many great goalkeepers at the club, Heaton is not put off by the challenge and wants to fight to get minutes under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“It’s great to be part of it. As ever, I've got the drive to go in and compete and work my way forward and aim to get in a team. I wouldn't want it any other way. Of course there are some brilliant goalkeepers here. I understand the challenge, I'm not daft, but I'm here to take it on.”
During the chat, Heaton brings up memories of being dragged into the first-team dressing room for his initiation song, back in 2005.
“I’ll be honest, there's that much panic going through the system at that moment in time,” our goalkeeper remembers.
“As a young lad, to go in the first-team dressing room and get dragged in there is one scary experience. They’re all sat there. Everyone sat down. You stand up [and they ask] “what's your name, where do you come from?” It’s an awkward moment.”
Even though it was an awkward experience for the young shot-stopper, he believes moments like that are key in developing and performing at the highest level.
“It's something that's gone a bit out of the game. For me as a young player coming up, it was a moment when you have to stand up and take it on. You're outside your comfort zone but it is character building,” the 35-year-old said.
“I get that you don't want to push it too far, but I think that's why you develop characters and people who can play in front of 75,000, going through those experiences. So I wouldn't change it. Even though it was uncomfortable, I would not change it.”
The UTD Podcast episode with Heaton is available in the Official App from Monday at 17:00 BST and on other streaming platforms from Tuesday.