By 90Min
March 21, 2018

Joe Hart has admitted that although England's number one spot is up for grabs this summer, he still hopes he can retain his position starting between the sticks.

The 30-year-old has been a regular starter for his country since 2012 and has made the position his own ever since. However, after a poor Euro 2016 campaign and a disastrous season with West Ham United, Hart's recent form has declined and many now believe his starting spot may be under threat ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

In the last three international games, Gareth Southgate has played Hart, Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford whilst also handing a first call up to debutant Nick Pope for England's upcoming friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy. The sheer level of competition has now placed doubts around who will start in goal for England.

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Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of the friendlies, Hart did admit the competition would be tough to start for England, however remained confident he had earned his place in the side. 

He said: "Since Gareth has been in charge he's always said I've performed really well for him.

"He seems like a loyal guy but the shirt is up for grabs. There's three goalkeeper places and there's some people performing well in the Premier League. Hopefully I've got my place back now and we'll see where we go with that.

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"For now I'm just focused on this camp and being a part of a squad that I've been a big part of for a long time now."

Hart made his first Premier League start in four months during West Ham's 3-0 home defeat to Burnley, and while many believe the lack of playing time is enough to not include Hart in the starting lineup, Hart himself insisted he isn't phased by the criticism.

He added: I'm not going to let that ever affect me. The position I'm in if you let confidence dip it's going to affect you badly.

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"I'm me, I'm going to keep working hard, I've worked hard every day of my life and I'll continue to do that whether I'm playing or not."

He'll certainly be hoping Southgate keeps faith with him when England face the Netherlands on Friday before hosting Italy at Wembley Stadium on Monday night. 

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