Sean Dyche’s headache – Here’s how Burnley could handle their two top-class goalkeepers next season


Burnley probably lost all hope after Tom Heaton suffered an injury right at the start of the 2017/18 campaign. The Clarets started the season brilliantly with a 3-2 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. It was the perfect start for Sean Dyche’s men, who were tipped to lose that game.

Confidence was high, energy was ecstatic, and the Burnley fans were already celebrating until star goalkeeper Heaton suffered a dislocated shoulder in a 1-0 win against Crystal Palace. The 31-year-old was replaced after landing awkwardly, following a collision with his own defender – Ben Mee.

Nick Pope, who replaced Heaton, was pretty much an unknown player back then. There surely wasn’t a lot of expectation placed on the young man, but boy was he good! The young goalkeeper went on to play 35 league games, keeping 11 clean sheets with the help of a rock-solid defence. Pope made a staggering 114 saves across the campaign, which is just one behind Manchester United custodian David De Gea’s tally of 115.

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Nick Pope

Pope also made a crucial penalty save against Newcastle. It was a night to remember for him at St James’ Park as he pulled off a great save to turn Kenedy’s shot onto the post.

To top it all off, he denied Joselu from the penalty spot to take home the Man of the Match award. It was then and there that Dyche realised the goalkeeper’s potential. Pope has been rewarded for his impressive performances in the Burnley shirt with a spot in England’s World Cup squad.

The injury to Heaton was unfortunate, but in Pope, Burnley have now found a gem of a goalkeeper. In the 2016/17 Premier League campaign, Heaton went on to make a stunning 141 saves. The 32-year-old managed to keep 10 clean sheets that season. But the question is, who will Dyche pick as his first choice goalkeeper next season?

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Tom Heaton

The nod should go to Pope, given the momentum he is carrying at the moment. But Dyche could also resort to the same tactic which former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger used last season –  swapping his goalkeepers between the league and European games.

While Pope could play in the Premier League, Heaton could feature in the Europa League, provided he receives adequate game time in pre-season. But all in all, it is a good dilemma for Dyche to have as both Pope and Heaton are wonderful custodians.

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