Joe Hart Set to Retain Starting Place for England's World Cup Qualifier in Malta on Friday

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Joe Hart is set to retain his place in goal for England's World Cup qualifier against Malta on Friday, in a serious vote of confidence from Three Lions' manager Gareth Southgate who also had the option of reinstating Stoke's Jack Butland into the starting lineup. 

The 30-year-old stopper came under scrutiny in his last appearance for England which has seemingly carried over into his domestic career, as his first three outings for new club West Ham have been anything but smooth. 


Despite seemingly being at fault for conceding two goals to Scotland's Leigh Griffiths in June, the Guardian have reported that Hart has been provided with another opportunity to stake his claim as England's undisputed number one in Malta on Friday. 

The appearance in Malta will be Hart's 72nd cap for his country, with an opportunity to make it the 73rd on Monday if he impresses. However, Butland will be breathing down his neck in the quest to secure the position in between the sticks ahead of England's World Cup campaign.

The Stoke City keeper can be considered hard done by after impressing in the Potters' opening fixtures, following his recovery from a fractured ankle which kept him out of the game for 13 months.

England are set to officially qualify for the group stages of the World Cup in Russia if they beat both Malta and Slovakia this week, and if Slovakia fails to defeat Slovenia on Friday.