Aston Villa fans have been giving their reactions on social media, after Tom Heaton said he wouldn’t be returning to action until mid-October.
The England international has been out of the picture since January, after he sustained an ACL injury against Burnley.
His injury prompted Dean Smith to dip into the transfer market, with Pepe Reina joining for the second half of 2019/20.
Thankfully for the club, Heaton’s injury did not prove costly as Villa were able to survive and secure Premier League football for 2020/21.
Fans had been hoping Heaton – who cost a reported £8 million from Burnley (BBC Sport) – would be back between the sticks in time for their opener (which is now against Sheffield United after the Manchester City game was postponed), but the 34-year-old has delivered some bad news.
He told Villa TV: “It’s a difficult one to pinpoint. I think the start of the season, unfortunately, has come too soon. When lockdown happened I earmarked it as a possibility.
“It’s landed a little fortunately with the fixtures, not playing the first week (due to Man City postponement). We’ve only got three league games up until the international break. At the minute I’ve got my eye set on that, whether the medics agree I’m not so sure.
“That certainly gives me enough time, it’s eight and a half weeks from now to get right and, fingers crossed, we’ll see how it plays out.”
Even though Villa ultimately survived last term, Heaton’s absence was most definitely felt with Reina and Orjan Nyland both having their moments.
In the eyes of many Heaton was Villa’s best signing up until his injury, and some fans are gutted he won’t be back from the beginning in 2020/21:
It’s definitely a blow but I don’t subscribe to the idea we need to buy another keeper. We have Steer and two international keepers on the books. Lets spend the money where it needs to be spent and not waste £20odd mill on a keeper for a month
— Bendrix 🦁 (@Benjmeister85) August 23, 2020
Jed steer can cover no problem, think he is fit
— Darren Bicknell (@Dazlarrrrr) August 23, 2020
Gutted love Tom!
— ann kelly (@annk268) August 23, 2020
100% we should go for Foster.
— Villa Boy (@VillaBoy68) August 23, 2020
New keeper incoming then
— Garin Williams (@GW_94) August 23, 2020
Not good news
— Longclaw82 (@Longclaw9) August 23, 2020
This is gutting news, I hope Steer gets a chance
— Darren Purnell (@TheDrDazzlar) August 23, 2020