Feb 15 2010 By Greg Burns
MAN Utd loanee goalkeeper Tom Heaton said there is only so long he can be satisfied foiling Wayne Rooney in training and is looking forward to playing games after his debut for Wycombe.
The 23-year-old shot stopper only joined Wanderers on loan until the end of the season from the Premier League champions on Friday but was given his first start for the club just 24 hours later at Brentford.
It was a big decision by Blues boss Gary Waddock to drop Scott Shearer, who had only failed to start one league game this season.
But Heaton justified his selection with a solid display between the sticks for Wycombe and is keen to stake a permanent claim for a starting place.
“I have known about Scott for a while but it was the first time I had met him and he is a fantastic goalkeeper and a great lad,” he told the Examiner.
“I knew when I came here that I would be competing for places and that is the case at any football club in the world. I want to play, as I am sure Scott does, so we will have to see how it goes.”
Blues boss Gary Waddock said: “It was a big decision because Shears has been a big part of the club and what the club has achieved over the years. So it was big call.
“I am pleased we have got Tom in and I think early on in the game you could see how confident he was and he commanded his box really well.
“In saying that, he didn't have to do too much in terms of making saves, but what he did do he did very well.”
Heaton is a highly rated prospect at Old Trafford and has spent years training with the first team and honing his skills against United stars Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo et al and learning from one of the best in Edwin Van der Sar.
He was also one of Man Utd's 24-man squad which travelled to Moscow and won the Champions League in 2008.
“Edwin is fantastic to learn from and is still doing a fantastic job for United,” added Heaton. “For me, he doesn't get as much credit as he deserves. Being goalkeeper at Man United is difficult because you can be quiet for long spells in the game.
“I have been fortunate to train with a lot of the first team over the past three or four years and as a 20-year-old I moved to the third choice when Ben Foster was out on loan,” he said.
“But I am 23 and people keep telling me that keepers take a lot longer to mature but I feel I am ready to play and I want to get that experience.
“For me I am just concentrating on being at Wycombe and hopefully playing every game.”
Heaton was on loan at QPR between August and November and heard good things about Wanderers from now-Blues midfielder Gareth Ainsworth, who was preparing for his move.
Rangers reserve team coach and Wanderers midfield legend Keith Ryan, who clocked up 351 games for Blues in a 16 year spell, also told him all about the club.
And after just a few days around the squad and playing his part in a solid display at Brentford he is sure Wycombe have what it takes to escape relegation.
He said: “I knew when I came down that they were second from bottom. But I spoke to a lot of people and they all told me what a great club it is and that they have been a touch unlucky this year.
“But I think we can turn that around. You don't want to go down saying you are unlucky. Having seen the lads in training and spoken to the manager, I think there is a realistic chance we can stay in the division.”