It did not take long for Joe Hart to win over the Torino fans following his loan move from Manchester City.
At his first press conference earlier this month, he spoke some Italian and explained he was learning football phrases first. He also called coach Sinisa Mihajlovoc ‘Mister,’ as all players do in Italy. Ahead of Torino’s first big test of the season, a home tie against Roma, fans unfurled a banner showing Hart against a City backdrop. The goalkeeper may not want to be reminded of the club that has released him, but he did not show it.
Instead, Hart blocked an early effort from his former City teammate Edin Dzeko and then roared on his teammates as they won 3-1, with Torino’s loanee from Roma, Iago Falque, scoring twice. An image of Hart celebrating with his four defenders suggests he has settled in well.
“He is a great guy and a wonderful professional, an international level goalkeeper with great charisma. His presence makes the rest of the team feel more confident,” Mihajlovic said after the game. "This was our best performance of the season: I saw 11 bulls out there today. We scored three goals, hit the woodwork and created another four or five clear-cut chances. We allowed Roma very little, so it was a deserved victory.”
This experience should improve Hart as a player, and who knows, maybe even encourage other British players to step out of their comfort zone and play abroad.