Paul Robinson has said it is a “massive blow” to Aston Villa that goalkeeper Tom Heaton has been ruled out for the final 10 games of their season.
Heaton revealed to Sky Sports last week that he would not return to full fitness in time for the Premier League’s return on June 17. Villa have 10 games remaining left in the 2019/20 season to keep their top-flight status alive, sitting 19th in the league at present.
Heaton, who arrived from Burnley last summer, had been in moderately good form (averaging 3.4 saves per game) up until his injury against his former club at the start of the year. Bringing in Spanish veteran Pepe Reina to provide cover, Dean Smith has faced a struggle in finding a suitable replacement, also playing Orjan Nyland from time to time in the Premier League.
When asked by Football Insider how Heaton’s absence will hurt Villa, Robinson said: “It is a massive blow.
“I worked with Tom closely at Burnley and I know the type of character and person he is in and around the dressing room as well as on the pitch.
“You will not find a more hard working, consciousness goalkeeper. He is obsessive about working hard.
“He was a great, astute signing when Dean Smith signed him.
“He knows the league very well and you want a goalkeeper that can save you six to 10 points a season and he could have saved Aston Villa this year if he was playing.
“He was outstanding up til when he got injured.
“They will miss Tom between now and the end of the season because he is such a top class goalkeeper.”
Robinson is right – Heaton’s absence has been felt by Villa, who have lost five of their last seven league games in his absence, and it has to be argued that neither Reina nor Nyland have enjoyed success or consistent form between the sticks.
Villa will likely need to see a drastic change in form from the aforementioned duo when football returns if they are to have any chance of remaining in the Premier League.
Heaton is likely to reclaim his place in the first XI when he returns from injury but he will be watching on in anticipation to see whether that is in England’s top flight or back in the Championship.
Villa fans, do you think the relegation battle will be a lot tougher without Heaton to cal upon? Let us know in the comments section below…
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