Belfast Telegraph

Heaton: Keane is fantastic but Burnley can cope with defender's loss

Tom Heaton expects England colleague Michael Keane to blossom even more at Everton, though he believes Burnley can cover his departure with their collective strength.

Defender Keane's form as the Clarets survived last term earned him an England bow in March and then a £30million move to Goodison Park this summer.

Heaton thinks Keane will reach even greater heights in his new surroundings but is confident that the void he has left can be filled by others currently in the Burnley set-up.

Sean Dyche is yet to sign a direct replacement for 24-year-old Keane, with the hope being that James Tarkowski and Kevin Long can step up.

" Keano is a fantastic player and I think he'll go from strength to strength now," Heaton told Press Association Sport.

"I thought his England debut was outstanding and obviously he got a big move.

"But the way we defend here, and the way we play, we're more about the unit and that team ethos.

"Players coming in and fitting in to that, hopefully it shouldn't cause too many ripples and it gives them a chance to put their stamp on it."

Former Manchester United trainee Keane was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award last term and garnered plenty of praise during the term from the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard.

However, Heaton has highlighted the contribution of his central-defensive colleague Ben Mee and believes the 27-year-old will begin to gain greater outside credit now Keane is no longer in the spotlight.

"Ben has been outstanding in the last few seasons and last season was probably the best of the lot," Heaton added.

"It certainly didn't go under the radar in our building.

"I know the outside public might have looked at Keano but we certainly value what Ben did and what he's about. It's an opportunity for him to put a marker down and progress his own game."

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