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Manchester United ace vows to put past Euros woes behind him and start rallying the troops ahead of opener

To Manchester United and England fans’ surprise on Monday, Tom Heaton was called up by Gareth Southgate to join England’s Euro 2024 camp in Germany. The veteran will be putting all of his experience and wisdom into practice when working directly with the goalkeeping department, consisting of first-choice Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale and former Red Dean Henderson. Heaton will also become one of three United representatives in the Three Lions squad following Luke Shaw and Kobbie Mainoo’s inclusion in Southgate’s 26-man selection last week. Read more: Euro 2024 preview – All the Manchester United players in action this summer While, of course, the 38-year-old won’t feature competitively, Southgate thought Heaton’s presence around such a young squad would only benefit the players. It’s evident that he’s a popular figure in the United dressing room, so would likely ease the team’s pre-Euros jitters as someone who has also experienced the same feeling; in 2016, he was part of the England side that was knocked out of the tournament by Iceland in the round of 16. Heaton speaks out after England call-up Having endured such a troublesome period for the national team, the shot-stopper believes Southgate has implemented an entirely new culture at St. George’s Park. “I sort of predated Gareth before he was England manager, and then I was there for quite a bit of his, sort of, first few years, so I’ve seen him all the way through, really,” Heaton said after his call-up, as cited by Yahoo Sport. “He’s just shifted the culture, really. I think he shifted the whole outlook – the whole feel from the country, really, and even you guys [in the media]. He sort of brought everyone in together, so that’s how it’s changed. I think what’s that given for the lads is a little bit [of] freedom to go and perform. “I think we’ve seen that over the last few years. We’ve gone close, there’s been some really good performances, and there’s a really good feel to the England team at the minute. Of course, there’s expectation because we’ve got a good side, but you’ve got to embrace that, and I think you can see that at the minute. “We’ve got fantastic players, everyone’s hungry to be in the shirt, and, of course, we’re going to try and make it successful.” He continued: “I actually spoke to a few of the lads this morning about that camp [in 2016]. [It] was actually really, really good until it wasn’t. “Obviously you talk about results there… I think that’s what makes or breaks it. There was a good feeling going into 2016, but I think what the difference has been is we’ve now got evidence of good performances, good sort of finishes in big championships. So, there’s been sort of momentum building. “There has been a shift in culture – the lads have embraced it. I just think we’re closer to being successful than then and there is some hard evidence to back it up, so there’s more belief that goes with that. “It feels very special. Gareth rang me a couple [of] weeks ago, floated the idea and I jumped at the opportunity. To come and be a part of it – another major championship – is an honour and a privilege. I’m delighted to be here.”

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