Tom Heaton misses Aston Villa’s 10-game relegation dogfight in huge blow over long-term knee injury – The Sun

TOM HEATON will miss Aston Villa's crunch ten-game battle against Premier League relegation.

The England keeper has been out since New Year's Day after sustaining a serious knee injury in a 2-1 win at Burnley.

Villa No1 Heaton is back in light training and has started running exercises on the grass.

But the 34-year-old admits the condensed Prem run-in, which starts against Sheffield United at Villa Park on June 17, will come too soon for him.

Heaton told Sky Sports: "The injury is coming along really well. We are four and-a-half months post-operation, give or take.

"But I'm really pleased with the progress. It feels solid and stable. I'm back out on the grass doing a bit of running and then I am slowly going to build it up.

"In reality, it's going to be a big ask to get back in terms of this season.

"But I'm certainly hopeful to be ready to roll by the time the season kicks off next season, whenever that is going to be."


The ACL injury would have also forced Heaton to miss England's Euro 2020 finals campaign.

But the three-cap Three Lions stopper has been given a lifeline after the tournament was postponed by 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Heaton added: "It's another silver lining for me. When I first did the injury on January 1, you're gutted to miss the rest of the season for Villa but then beyond that and the Euros obviously aiming towards being involved in it during the summer too. It had gone.

"So for that to be pushed back, and you never have any guarantees of course, but to have the chance to be involved in that. Christmas has come early for me really.

"That gives me an opportunity to be involved which I thought had been lost."


But first-choice Heaton, who arrived from Burnley for £8million last summer, will be praying Villa are still a Prem outfit by the time he returns to action.

Dean Smith's side are 19th in the table but victory over the Blades on the opening night of Project Restart would lift the Midlands club out of the bottom three immediately.

Heaton added: "We have a game in hand on the majority of the teams. We are two points from 16th place.

"At the time lockdown happened we were in a difficult period. We had a few tough results and the performances hadn't been up to scratch really. The break came at a good time for us.

"We certainly have a lot of ability in the squad. We have shown on so many occasions that we can do it and put it all together.

"We have been plagued a little bit by inconsistency. We haven't got an awful lot of Premier League experience in the squad, we had a lot of new players in the summer which is difficult to bring that all together and everyone learns on the job.

"The pleasing thing is we've shown so many times how good we can be. We have used the break very wisely.

"The manager has been great in making sure we have gone back and analysed individually and collectively on where we are at, what we need to improve on and that has been impressive.

"I am very optimistic – I was optimistic anyway because it was so close – but even now I'm hoping we will gain an experience in this spell on what we have been doing so we can go back, finish the season strongly and finish on the right side of it.

"We have certainly got more than enough ability to do that."

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