Hodgson keeps Hart as Englandís No. 1 choice for goalkeeper
England manager Roy Hodgson claims he still has faith in Joe Hart’s ability to give a top drawer performance in front of the sticks. The Three Lions boss confirmed Joe Hart as his first-choice goalkeeper, although the shot-stopper lost his first-team spot at Manchester City earlier this month.
Hart was sacked by Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini after the Englishman committed a number of jaw-dropping blunders. Hart’s exclusion from Manchester City’s first-team meant he could also lose his England spot. Celtic’s Fraser Forster and Norwich City’s John Ruddy are possible candidates for the job, although Hodgson is still eager to put his faith in Hart’s abilities.
Speaking to reporters in a news conference at the Wembley ahead of friendlies with Chile and Germany, Hodgson announced Hart as his No. 1 choice in front of the sticks.
“Joe will definitely start one [of the matches] as he is our No. 1 goalkeeper. He might start against Germany, but I won’t be pinned down on that,” Hodgson said.
However, Hodgson insists that his decision not to field Forster or Ruddy doesn’t mean Hart had any kind of immunity. The England boss insists Hart will fall down the pecking order if the goalkeeper doesn’t record first-class performances.
“Every manager must manage his club in the way he sees best to manage his club,” Hodgson said. “I do the same. I look at the English goalkeepers who are available to play and then I pick the best one. Up to now that has been Joe Hart, but Manuel Pellegrini and Manchester City are entitled to do whatever he wants with his club.
“It is important for me to look at one of the other two goalkeepers, possibly both, so that is what I intend to do.”
Hodgson further stated that he believed Hart will soon be back in Manchester City’s first-team. The former Liverpool manager also said that he was happy England had the luxury of choosing from three good goalkeepers.
“It is November. He made a mistake or possibly two mistakes,” Hodgson said. “As a result of those mistakes, the [Manchester City] manager has made his decision. I would be a lot more concerned if Joe Hart never got his place back, and if in the spring of next year when I have to select 23 players he was a constant reserve, I will cross that bridge when I come back. I firmly believe Joe is such a good goalkeeper he will get back in the team.
“We are happy we have got three goalkeepers. Fraser Forster has not been held back by the SPL, he has been held back by Joe Hart. Goalkeepers can find themselves behind the No. 1 through no fault of their own. I want to put a word in with John Ruddy as well. It is up to me to decide which is number one.”