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Tom Heaton sets personal challenge following Manchester United return

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Manchester United goalkeeper Tom Heaton has admitted that he is relishing the challenge of looking to force his way into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans this season.

The 35-year-old, who started his career with United, returned to the club during the summer transfer window following his exit from Burnley to provide competition for David de Gea, Dean Henderson and Lee Grant.

As expected, De Gea has nailed down his place as United’s No.1 shot-stopper at the start of this season and has looked strong, meaning the chances of him losing his place within the side anytime soon is unlikely.

Despite finding himself down the pecking order, Heaton has admitted that he is ready to stand up to the challenge in his quest to try and secure as many opportunities as possible.

“It’s great to be part of it,” Heaton told the UTD Podcast. “As ever, I’ve got the drive to go in and compete and work my way forward and aim to get in a team. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Of course there are some brilliant goalkeepers here.

“I understand the challenge, I’m not daft, but I’m here to take it on.”

Although opportunities have so far proven to be non-existent for Heaton in a competitive sense, the former Cardiff City shot-stopper is delighted to have returned to his old stomping ground.

“It feels great,” Heaton continued, when asked about how it is to be back where it all started.

“You know, I’ve joined a fantastic goalkeeping department. Obviously David [De Gea] and Dean [Henderson], and Lee Grant, who I’ve known for quite a long time, is a fantastic goalkeeper and a great athlete.

“I’ve enjoyed working with the young boys as well, Nathan Bishop and Matej Kovar. They have obviously got great careers ahead. I think both of them are sort of where I was [at their age], looking for that experience.”

A common theme when players join new clubs is to sing an initiation song to their team-mates, often in the dressing room or around a meal table.

Although the goalkeeper did not comment on if he had been forced to do one upon his return to the club this summer, Heaton has recalled the time he had to do one back in 2005.

“I’ll be honest, there’s that much panic going through the system at that moment in time,” Heaton added.

“As a young lad, to go in the first-team dressing room and get dragged in there is one scary experience. They’re all sat there.

“Everyone sat down. You stand up [and they ask] ‘what’s your name, where do you come from?’ It’s an awkward moment.”

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