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Hart hailed by Heaton during testing time for Burnley’s former Man City keeper

1:00 PM GMT 13/03/2019
Joe Hart Burnley Europa League 2018-19
Once England’s first choice between the sticks, a man who has endured a tough couple of seasons at club level finds himself back out of favour

Joe Hart had been looking for a move to Burnley to reignite his career after disappointing loan spells at Torino and West Ham and a tumble down the pecking order at Manchester City.

He was thrust straight into the Clarets team by Sean Dyche following his arrival at Turf Moor in the summer of 2018.

The 31-year-old was a mainstay in the side between the start of the season and Boxing Day, taking in 19 appearances.

Burnley collected just three Premier League wins from those fixtures and Hart found himself slipping back out of favour as fellow England hopeful Tom Heaton was handed a recall.

The man now in charge of starting duties believes a club and international rival can feel unfortunate to have lost his place, as he impressed during a difficult run for the Clarets.

Heaton, speaking at Precision’s Goalkeeping event for his bespoke glove range, told Goal when asked how impressed he has been with Hart during a difficult time: “Massively. I’ve known him for a long time and had an excellent relationship with him.

“I thought his performances in the first half of the season were excellent. For me, he was probably the standout player in that first half of the season.

“Obviously the results weren’t going as well and the manager made a change, but he can certainly be proud of what he produced. It’s just the nature of football sometimes that results dictate things.”

Hart and Heaton form part of a well-stocked goalkeeping department at Burnley which is helping to keep everybody on their toes.

A third England international, Nick Pope, is also part of the Clarets squad, while former Manchester United shot-stopper Anders Lindegaard is another of those hoping to see game time.

“We’ve got a strong goalkeeping department,” said Heaton.

“We’ve got Adam Legzdins, Anders Lindegaard as well, a healthy goalkeeping dynamic. It’s good. We have a great working relationship, we all get on well and like competing against each other.

“Everyone wants to play, that’s a given, but I think there is an understanding that decision comes down to the manager and we’re all just putting the work in.

“It’s nice competing against them, but obviously frustrating when you’re not playing because that’s what everyone wants.

“Everyone is aware of the situation. We all want to play and be out there, but at the same time there is a support and respect there when that’s not the case.

“It’s a really healthy competition that can only benefit the club.”

Heaton has enjoyed Premier League starting duties since late December, with Pope seeing only one Europa League outing and two FA Cup games this season, while Lindegaard has figured in two continental fixtures.

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