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- How well do you know Joe Hart? 5 Taken
Manchester City’s Shay Given believes team-mate Joe Hart should be England’s first-choice goalkeeper at the World Cup.
The 23-year-old helped stake his claim to start in goal with impressive performances in the warm-up matches against Mexico and Japan.
West Ham United’s Robert Green and Portsmouth’s David James are more likely candidates for the No.1 shirt but Given is confident Hart would be able to handle the pressure should he be called upon in South Africa.
"It would be great for Joe to get a couple of games," Given told the Manchester Evening News.
"He's had a fantastic season. Rob Green and David James are two fantastic keepers as well.
"It's going to be a difficult decision for the England manager, but Joe has given him that difficult decision to make. He's done really well."
Hart impressed during a season-long loan deal at Birmingham City last season but Citizens manager Robert Mancini has confirmed he will not be loaned out next year.
Given, who suffered a shoulder injury in April and missed his side’s last three games of the campaign, hopes to be fit to begin the season.
"I was told I would be out for three to four months when I picked up the injury," he said.
"Three months would take me to the end of July, while four would make it the end of August, so I'm pushing for the earlier date!
"I'm hoping to be back for the start of the season. That's the aim, because I don't want to miss any games.
"I was gutted to miss the final week of last season. It couldn't be helped, but I don't want to miss any more matches.
"I want to be back for the first game. That's my target. I hope I can get to play in pre-season as well."
0 Comments 159 weeks
JOE Hart today admitted he would have been happy to return to Birmingham City next season – but Manchester City were having none of it.
And Hart tipped likely successor Ben Foster to follow his lead and be a success between the posts.
Hart was voted player of the season by Blues’ supporters after a fine campaign that has got him into England’s provisional World Cup squad.
But he preferred to share the credit around rather than bask in personal glory.
Blues wanted Hart again on loan, or permanently, but Shay Given’s shoulder injury made up Manchester’s mind.
“We were all waiting for a decision, nobody really knew what was going on and people were asking me,” said Hart. “I knew as much as the next man and what I read in the papers.
“I just waited for my orders and my orders were that I went back. I am contracted to Man City so that’s where I will be.
“I will admit, it’s sad. But it was out of my hands. If I could have stayed, I would, but it wasn’t down to me.
“I have made a lot of good friends at Birmingham. Players, staff. It’s hard. I’ve never really left anything like this before, in this way.
“I didn’t really want to leave. But I was told that I have to. It’s just the way football is and hopefully I have got some good relationships to come back to when I play Birmingham down the line.”
Blues have lined up Manchester United’s Foster for a £6 million transfer and Hart gave his approval.
He has quite an act to follow. “I think he will do it easily,” Hart told the Birmingham Mail.
“He’s a fantastic ‘keeper, Ben. He had some harsh criticism at Man United this season and if he does turn out to be the Blues ‘keeper next year he will do a good job – and good luck to him.”
Hart said he arrived at Blues with an open mind, knowing they were considered cannon fodder after promotion – and has now left a better player.
“I just hoped that I would get in – which I did – and keep my place. There were the likes of Maik Taylor and Colin Doyle behind me, two great ‘keepers in their own right. That was the main aim, everything else was a bonus.
“I expected to be busy as the goalkeeper. For all the nice things people have said, I haven’t exactly been over-worked throughout the season. I’ve just had one or two things to do, and tried to have a real input in the game.
“The lads have been different class. I think we showed what a proper team we were and it was exciting what we did.
“We gelled as a defensive line. We gelled on a personal basis. We all got on.
“It’s those four, the four in front of them, then the other two. We were a real good defensive team and we looked to counter attack.
“I think the relationships spilled on to the pitch and that’s where the success came from really.”
Hart admitted he was choked with emotion at the way Blues’ fans gave him such an appreciative and sustained send-off at Bolton.
“Stuff like that, you don’t expect. It was really touching. I spoke to my family afterwards about it and I just hope it was given back, that’s that what it meant to me. The fans didn’t have to do things like that. I was just playing my role for the team really.”
“I have absolutely loved it,” Hart concluded.
“It was a great opportunity for me coming to Birmingham. I fell out of favour at Man City, the manager gave me a chance to be part of this great team, this great set-up – and great people as well. I have loved every minute of it. That sums it up really.”
0 Comments 160 weeks
England's 30-man provisional squad for the World Cup finals:
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), David James (Portsmouth), Robert Green (West Ham).
Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Michael Dawson (Tottenham), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Ledley King (Tottenham), John Terry (Chelsea), Matthew Upson (West Ham), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa).
Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), James Milner (Aston Villa), Scott Parker (West Ham), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City)
Forwards: Darren Bent (Sunderland), Peter Crouch (Tottenham), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).
0 Comments 161 weeks
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