Sean Dyche can manage at the highest level and has what it takes to lead England, according to Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton.
Burnley have been the surprise package in the Premier League this season and sit seventh, nine points clear of Leicester City in eighth, with qualification for European football for the first time in over half a century almost secured.
The Clarets’ cushion over Leicester was boosted by a 2-1 victory over the Foxes at Turf Moor last Saturday, their fifth win in succession coming as part of a run that saw Dyche named Manager of the Month for March.
Asked what level the Burnley boss could reach, England international Heaton said: “I wouldn’t limit it.
“I’ve been so impressed with him since I’ve been here,” Heaton told Omnisport on behalf of Know The Score, a campaign uniting football in April to raise awareness of bowel cancer signs and symptoms.
“Day in, day out, season in, season out, I certainly wouldn’t limit it to anyone at all, including international jobs with the England job. For me, I haven’t seen many better at all.
“You wouldn’t want it to change, of course, the job he’s done here has been incredible. Just for the nature of the beast and how well he’s done, yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if people are after him.”
Dyche was linked with Everton as a replacement for Ronald Koeman in October and interest from elsewhere is sure to increase following Burnley’s performances this season, but Heaton hopes the Clarets will be able to keep hold of him.
He said: “He’s probably the most important piece. In fact, it’s probably not probable, it’s almost definite. He sets the tone for everything, him and his staff, and the players take it on.
“Each year that I’ve been here, which is five years now, that’s kicked on, there’s been progression, development, even after being relegated out the Premier League in my second season here we still felt like we were making strides forward despite the relegation.
“He really is key to it. The way we play, the strength of the team, those core values that we hold tight. That’s something that we can really hold on to.
“If you add that into the mix with some of the quality we’ve got and the way we mix our football it’s tough to play against and I think teams have found that over the years, but especially this year.
“It certainly hasn’t surprised anyone here that he’s been linked with so-called bigger clubs, but I think the work he’s done here, what he’s done on the pitch, off the pitch, for the whole club and the town, it takes some beating.
“Hopefully the club will be able to keep him, I think that’ll be important. Then if that doesn’t happen for whatever reason then you take it from there, but hopefully we won’t be in that scenario.”