MX23RW : Saturday, January 19 09:11:21

Sean Dyche not eager to offload any of England goalkeeping trio

Sean Dyche not eager to offload any of England goalkeeping trio
© Reuters
Joe Hart, Tom Heaton and Nick Pope are battling for a start.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche will only listen to approaches for Joe Hart, Tom Heaton or Nick Pope if the player concerned wants him to.

It was reported this week that Preston had asked the Clarets if Hart – recently dropped from the starting line-up – or fellow goalkeepers Heaton or Pope were available on loan for the rest of the season, and been told the answer was no.

The Lilywhites subsequently signed Connor Ripley from Middlesbrough.

When Dyche was asked about Hart on Thursday, he said Burnley "haven't had any enquires for anyone."

The manager was then asked if he would listen to requests for his goalkeepers, and said: "No – only if they wanted me to listen to a request.

"If they said 'look, gaffer' (and gave) whatever reason, I'd listen to them. I trust them all. They are all old enough and wise enough now.

"Popey is slightly younger (26), but he's a mature lad, and obviously with Tom and Harty (32 and 31 respectively), they are older and wiser. They'd know. They'd know the time to come and say 'look gaffer, where is this at' sort of thing."

Burnley had summer signing Hart playing in goal and Heaton on the bench at the start of the season while Pope, last term's first choice, recovered from a dislocated shoulder.

And in an interview with the Sunday Mirror in October, Heaton spoke of his frustration and said he would have to keep his options open when the transfer window opened in January.

Hart was then demoted to the bench after the 5-1 Boxing Day loss to Everton and Heaton has played in each of the last two league games, a 2-0 win over West Ham and 2-1 victory at Huddersfield.

"Tom a few months ago came out and did a really good piece," said Dyche, whose side host Fulham on Saturday.

"We go 'what about that?', I said 'what about it?', I said he had told the truth, told exactly the truth.

"He thought that (he was set to depart). I said to him I had no reason to think that – but I respect him.

"At his level and his age and his understanding of the profession, then it's not about me deciding, usually.

"It's about them saying 'gaffer, look, this is what I think.' And I go 'OK'."

Dyche added: "As a manager, trust me, I want three top, top keepers in the building. Why wouldn't I want that? I definitely do."

Last weekend's 1-0 FA Cup victory over Barnsley saw Pope back in the side for the first time since sustaining the shoulder injury in July, with Hart again a substitute as Heaton dropped out of the matchday squad.

Dyche on Thursday said Pope will be "given the time to be as right as you can possibly be", and it is expected that Heaton will return to the team on Saturday.

Pope's injury came after he had been part of Gareth Southgate's England squad at the World Cup in Russia.

Heaton made Southgate's standby list for the tournament, while Hart – who won the most recent of his 75 caps in November 2017 – missed out on selection entirely.


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