Bruno Fernandes congratulates Tom Heaton on making his Manchester United debut

Along with Manchester United debut for 18-year-olds Zidane Iqbal and Charlie Savage, there was also a debut for a player nearly their combined age.

Tom Heaton, 35, came off the bench in the second half against Young Boys in a pre-planned change to replace Dean Henderson.

It was a long overdue moment for Heaton, who has waited the best part of two decades for this.

Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

A debut a long time in the making

Heaton began his spell in Manchester United’s academy in 2005 and despite a handful of loan spells, never made his first team debut.


It was not easy with Edwin van der Sar in front of him, and he eventually left the club to pursue opportunities elsewhere – much to the frustration of Sir Alex Ferguson.

After a successful decade away, which included representing England, Heaton made his surprise return to Old Trafford in the summer, to provide extra cover.

After a long wait, he has finally made his debut, playing the last half hour in a 1-1 draw against Young Boys, and for his part at least, keeping a clean sheet.

His debut was welcomed by teammate Bruno Fernandes, who was given a rare night off. He reached out to congratulate the veteran.

Heaton was seen smiling on the touchline before his number was called. He was clearly delighted to get a chance.

There was no hard feelings from Dean Henderson either, who saw his rare night of action standing in for David de Gea cut short. The pair were seen sharing a joke together at full-time.

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

It is very possible Henderson heads out on loan in the January transfer window, which could see Heaton move up the pecking order.

There was a practical element to Heaton’s debut. If Rangnick is to sanction Henderson’s loan, he has to feel confident in Heaton as a number two and watch him in action. The veteran will hope he succeeding in reassuring his new manager.

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