Why forgotten Man United man has earned a shock call-up to the England squad for the Euros

Why forgotten Man United man has earned a shock call-up to the England squad for the Euros

Mark Kinyanjui 18:30 - 10.06.2024

The reasons forgotten Man United keeper Tom Heaton has earned a shock call-up to the England squad for the Euros.

Manchester United's reserve goalkeeper, Tom Heaton, has been announced as a surprise addition to England's Euro 2024 camp. 

The veteran shot-stopper, who was only included in four of the Red Devils' Premier League match day squads last season, has joined the team as a training goalkeeper.

The Three Lions will touch down in Germany on Monday ahead of their opening game against Serbia on June 16. Gareth Southgate confirmed his 26-man squad last week, which included three keepers. 

Heaton has joined the party as a training keeper. 

Here are the reasons behind this unexpected decision:

1. Experience and Leadership

Heaton, 38, brings a wealth of experience to the England squad. With three caps for the national team and a long career in the Premier League, his presence is invaluable.

 Heaton's experience at major tournaments, including his inclusion in England's Euro 2016 squad, makes him an ideal mentor for the younger keepers. Gareth Southgate highlighted Heaton's ability to add to the positive environment, both on and off the field.

2. Supporting the Goalkeeping Unit

Heaton's role will be primarily to support the primary goalkeepers—Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, and Dean Henderson. 

As Southgate mentioned, a tournament can put significant demands on the goalkeeping group. Having an experienced training keeper ensures that the main goalkeepers can perform at their best, with Heaton providing essential backup during training sessions.

3. Injury Contingencies

Major tournaments are physically demanding, and having an extra, experienced goalkeeper like Heaton is a precautionary measure.

 Should any of the primary goalkeepers suffer an injury, Heaton's presence ensures there is a reliable and experienced option ready to step in, maintaining the squad's stability and readiness.

4. Positive Influence and Morale Booster

Heaton is known for his professionalism and positive influence in the locker room. His presence is seen as a morale booster for the team.

 Southgate emphasized Heaton's off-field contributions, suggesting that his leadership and experience would help foster a supportive and cohesive environment within the squad.

5. Future Coaching Role

Reports suggest that Heaton is considering a move into coaching once his playing contract expires at the end of June. 

His involvement with the national team could be seen as a transitional step, allowing him to share his knowledge and expertise while preparing for a potential future role in coaching. 

This dual role benefits both Heaton and the England team, leveraging his experience while also investing in his future contributions to football.

6. Club Support and Flexibility

Manchester United's support for Heaton's involvement with the national team reflects the strong relationship between the club and the national setup. 

This cooperation ensures that Heaton can fully commit to his role with England without any club-related disruptions, providing stability and continuity for both his club and country responsibilities.

7. Preparation and Training Enhancement

Having an additional goalkeeper in training enhances the quality and intensity of the sessions. Heaton's inclusion allows for more comprehensive and varied training drills, benefiting the entire squad. 

His presence ensures that the goalkeepers can be fully prepared for all possible scenarios they might face during the tournament.

Tom Heaton's shock call-up to the England Euro 2024 camp is a strategic move by Gareth Southgate, aimed at bolstering the squad with experience, leadership, and stability. 

As England prepares to challenge for the European title, Heaton's presence is set to play a crucial role in supporting the team's ambitions and ensuring a well-rounded and prepared squad.

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