Hart targeting long England career


Published: Wednesday 25th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Joe Hart is determined to ensure his England career stretches well beyond 50 caps.

If the 27-year-old plays against Lithuania and Italy over the next week he will become the sixth – and youngest – England goalkeeper to bring up his half-century.

Peter Shilton was 33 when he made his 50th appearance, David Seaman was 35, Gordon Banks 30, David James 39 and Ray Clemence 31.

That bodes well for Hart, who has a realistic chance of surpassing Shilton’s 125-cap record if he keeps his number one spot.

Hart described himself as a “soldier” this week and there is no sign of any battle weariness from the goalkeeper just yet.

“I could potentially get 50 caps (against Italy),” said the Manchester City goalkeeper, who made his England debut 44 days after his 21st birthday.

“I am knocking on those kind of tallies at the moment which is exciting.

“I am honoured to play every single game I have done for England and for it to be 48 so far is fantastic but I just want to keep playing.

“I don’t ever see any end. I don’t want there to be an end. You can’t finish one game and think: ‘that is me sorted’, I want to keep going, I keep preparing for games and hopefully I keep playing in them.

“I have got a lot of hard work to do to keep my place and I am willing to do that,” he added.

“I’m a soldier, I’m a player. I just want to play as much as I can for my team and for my country and that’s all I can put my focus on right now.”

Hart’s hard-working personality has been key to helping him to reach his current tally.

It was a trait Roy Hodgson took note of when he came under pressure to drop the goalkeeper last season after he made a number of errors for City.

Manuel Pellegrini axed the former Shrewsbury stopper, but the England manager did not follow suit.

That said, it was certainly a low point in Hart’s career with City.

“It was a situation for me where football didn’t go the way I wanted it,” he said.

“I was out of the team but I still had a good relationship with the manager, worked hard on what I felt I needed to work hard on and came back into the team.

“My aim when I came back into the team was to fit back in. I didn’t want to come back and make 50 saves and make an arrival.

“I just wanted to get back into the flow of playing games consistently and well.”

Hart has certainly achieved that his season. Willy Caballero, a summer signing from Malaga, has only been able to oust Hart from the starting XI in the league on two occasions.

Last week Hart was outstanding against Barcelona, denying Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez the chance to give City a real hiding in the Nou Camp.

Messi described Hart as a “phenomenon” after the match, but Hart is not getting too excited about being praised by a player regarded by many as the best on the planet.

“I am not going to get too carried away with it. He is a fantastic player and for him to comment on me is great but I’m not getting carried away,” Hart added.

Published: Wednesday 25th March 2015 by The News Editor

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