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The save which denied Ibrahimovic at Old Trafford

There’s been much speculation about Tom Heaton’s future but it now looks all but certain that he’ll be leaving Aston Villa after two years to return to Manchester United, the club where he started his career.

Tom didn’t make a first team appearance for United, getting his first team football in loans at Swindon, Cardiff, Rochdale and Wycombe before signing permanently for Cardiff in the summer of 2010.

From there he moved to Bristol City before signing for Burnley in the summer of 2013 and establishing himself as our first team goalkeeper and winning England caps before a shoulder injury struck early in the 2017/18 season to give Nick Pope his chance. Once fit, he got back into the side for the second half of the 2018/19 season but with Pope, who had suffered a similar injury at Aberdeen, fit again, Heaton opted to move to Aston Villa where he became the immediate first choice.

That was until New Year’s Day 2020 when he suffered an ACL injury at, of all places, the Turf in Aston Villa’s 2-1 win against us. He landed badly having failed to prevent Chris Wood scoring and was stretchered off, receiving a terrific ovation from the Turf Moor crowd.

Although fit  this season, he’s had to act as substitute with Emiliano Martinez firmly established and it is reported that he will be leaving and rejoining Manchester United with Lee Grant, who he followed at Burnley, expected to move on this summer.

He might not have played for Manchester United but he certainly had a special day at Old Trafford in the 2016/17 season when he somehow kept a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw. The photograph above shows the much talked about save from Zlatan Ibrahimović.

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