Keeper has struggled with form since loan switch to West Ham
That dreaded time has finally returned for football fans up and down the country – the international break. Just as the Premier League gets into full flow we’re forced to wait two weeks for the action to return whilst the World Cup Qualifiers and friendlies return. For some nations, it’s welcomed with opened arms, for England fans, it’s safe to say that isn’t the case. There’s a hostile relationship between the fans and The Three Lions at the moment, with the team clearly going through a prolonged transitional period under Gareth Southgate.
The former England U21 boss has an extremely difficult job on his hands taking them to the level we demand and expect from them with his new look squad lacking plenty of experience. Manchester City outcast Joe Hart is now the most senior member in the side with 71 caps, but the on-loan West Ham goalkeeper has received a lot of criticism over the last few years for his performances for both club and country. He’s already seen two ‘keepers signed in order to fill his boots at the Etihad but his position in the England setup is now under some serious threat too, with a number of suitable candidates readied and a majority of fans demanding he’s dropped.
The current man between the sticks has held his position for England in a extended period but it looks like his time could be up. A few years ago, Joe Hart was regarded as one of the world’s best goalkeepers and looked like he could hold the position for England for some time. His Manchester City playing time had him as a crucial part of their steady rise through the ranks, with a view to eventually reigning as one of Europe’s finest footballing sides. No keeper has won more Golden Gloves in the Premier League (4) and he has a wealth of experience for his home nation (71 caps), but the last couple of years have been tough for him. If you fancy your chances and would like to place a bit of a wager on the options, take a look at the FootyAccumulators website for tips and further insight.
Forced out of Manchester City, new boss Pep Guardiola clearly didn’t rate him, with it being one of the first stamps the Spaniard had on the squad, replacing him with aging back-up Willy Caballero. Hart had to show more signs of life in the games played, playing his trade at Serie A outfit Torino last season in what proved to be a disappointing loan spell. He made the second most errors leading to goals (5) which led to the Turin based club not making the move permanent.
He’s now at West Ham trying to rebuild his damaged reputation and it doesn’t look like things are going much better for him. In three Premier League games, he’s conceded 10 goals and it’s led to him getting a lot of stick from his new supporters – fans who once merely dreamt of signing a player with such talent. There’s no doubt that Hart knows what it takes to represent England, as in previous tournaments he’s been one of the most vocal players on the pitch and he is a natural leader. But now, the 30-year-old always looks a shadow of his former self, always having a potential mistake in him and, with several exciting young players coming through the ranks, we think they deserve a chance ahead of him.
Stoke City shot-stopper Jack Butland, Everton rising star Jordan Pickford and late-bloomer Tom Heaton all look suitable to take Hart’s place but Gareth Southgate continues to put him down as the first name on the teamsheet. Many City fans still recall fond memories of him but the choice to loan him out was based more on how he could hinder their hunt for the title, rather than relying on sentimental value alone.
Performances for West Ham United have only shown more weaknesses to his current game and far too many blunders in far too many must-win games have been a factor in the club’s drop down the Premier League table. Most notably in their tie with struggling Crystal Palace, his shortcomings left two goals conceded late-on, in what turned a 2-0 win into a 2-2 draw.
His place back at Manchester City could still be waiting for him. Hart is only loaned to The Hammers - whether that’s down to the hefty fee reportedly demanded by Guardiola or possibly due to the potential he still possesses is unknown. Although this season will prove whether that place at the Etihad remains, it could also be crucial in decided who steps out for The Three Lions in next year’s World Cup.