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Why Gareth Southgate has included Tom Heaton in England setup for Euro 2024 with two main expectations



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Manchester United goalkeeper Tom Heaton has been added to England’s squad for Euro 2024 as a training goalkeeper for the tournament.

Heaton, 38, has travelled to Germany with Gareth Southgate’s squad as an obscure last-minute addition.

While the United ‘keeper is not in England’s 26-man squad for the tournament, Heaton will act as a fourth goalkeeper in training, and there are two main reasons for his inclusion.

According to The Athletic, England have assessed that in previous tournaments when they have only had three goalkeepers there can be too much load on the playing squad.

It was explained that shot-stoppers are sometimes required to participate in drills designed more to aid outfield players than to improve their own game. Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale and Dean Henderson are the selected goalies for the tournament.

The report explained that Southgate had been considering this option for several months. The Three Lions boss made the final decision in recent days after settling on Heaton as the ideal candidate.

The Athletic added that the United goalkeeper’s character was the deciding factor in his favour, with his attitude and professionalism admired within the England camp.

Importantly, Southgate and his England coaches are expecting Heaton to provide help in training sessions within the goalkeeping department for the reasons previously touched on, as well as help to create the atmosphere Southgate’s squads have become notorious for in recent tournaments.

Speaking on the decision to include Heaton in the training squad, Southgate said: “I am really pleased Tom has agreed to join us in Germany.

“Experience tells us that a tournament can put a lot of demand on our goalkeeping group led by Martyn Margetson. Tom will play an invaluable role on the training pitch supporting Jordan, Aaron and Dean.

“Off the field, as someone we all know well, he will add to the positive environment we are always looking to create.”

Heaton himself has added, “I am incredibly honoured to be asked by Gareth to join the squad. To get the call to go to a major tournament, to help in any way I can, and pass on my experience is a proud moment. We have a great squad, I’m excited and can’t wait to join the group.”