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Consistency key to fulfilling World Cup dreams, says Heaton

Soccer Football - Nottingham Forest vs Burnley - Pre Season Friendly - Nottingham, Britain - July 29, 2017 Burnley's Tom Heaton makes a save from Nottingham's Forest's Daryl Murphy Action Images via Reuters/John Clifton
Soccer Football - Nottingham Forest vs Burnley - Pre Season Friendly - Nottingham, Britain - July 29, 2017 Burnley's Tom Heaton makes a save from Nottingham's Forest's Daryl Murphy Action Images via Reuters/John Clifton

(Reuters) - Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton realises consistent performance in the upcoming Premier League season is key to securing a place in the England squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Heaton is facing fierce competition from Stoke City's Jack Butland, Southampton's Fraser Forster, Everton's Jordan Pickford, and England's current number one Joe Hart, who is looking to rebuild his career on loan at West Ham United.

With England boss Gareth Southgate opting to start with Heaton in England's 3-2 defeat to France in June, 31-year-old Burnley skipper is keen to retain his spot between the sticks.

"The World Cup at the end of the season is always there, it doesn't go away, but to have a chance of being involved in that you need performances week-in, week-out," Heaton, who has been capped three times by England, told reporters.

"I don't think there's any given right to pull on that England shirt or be in the squad. I don't think any player should ever feel comfortable.

"The competition is really strong, they're all fantastic goalkeepers, and that will only breed more success and get more out of people. I, for one, am looking forward to the challenge.

Heaton is expected to feature in England's squad for their next two World Cup qualifiers, against Malta and Slovakia in September.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru)

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