Gareth Southgate Confirms Joe Hart Will Start as England #1 in Malta World Cup Qualifier

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In non-transfer news to emerge from summer deadline day, England manager Gareth Southgate has declared that on-loan West Ham goalkeeper Joe Hart will retain the number one spot for the Three Lions in Friday night's World Cup qualifier in Malta.

Hart endured a less than impressive year on loan with Torino in Italy last season after being deemed surplus to requirements at Manchester City and has picked the ball out of his net 10 times in three games so far in 2017/18 as the Hammers prop up the Premier League table.


But Southgate still has more faith in the 30-year-old stopper than he has in other options.

"I believe he's our best goalkeeper at the moment," the coach said of Hart on Thursday as he confirmed the player would start the game at the Maltese national stadium in Ta' Qali.

Southgate also has Stoke number one Jack Butland and Burnley hero Tom Heaton as back-ups. Jordan Pickford, signed by Everton for £25m this summer, was initially named in the squad before having to withdraw as a result of injury.

Southgate opted to overlook Southampton's Fraser Forster when naming his travelling party.


Hart was heavily criticised for his performances in an England shirt at Euro 2016 last summer. He was at fault for the goal Gareth Bale scored for Wales during the group stage and could have done more to prevent Iceland's winning goal that embarrassed England in Last 16.

No one in the current squad has more senior international caps than Hart's 71.