Joe Hart’s customary selection as the experienced member of Gareth Southgate’s England goalkeeping contingent could be under serious threat. As the World Cup fast approaches, time is running out on Hart’s hopes of salvaging his place in the England manager’s plans for the plane to Russia.
According to The Sun, the previously undisputed England number one’s catalogue of high profile mistakes for West Ham this season could prove costly to his selection hopes with the Three Lions. The most recent blunder came in Monday night’s 1-1 draw with Stoke, in which another costly mistake from Hart handed the Potters the lead through Peter Crouch’s capitalising on Hart’s clumsy goalkeeping.
Joe Hart: Has made as many errors that have directly led to an opposition goal than he has clean sheets in the Premier League this season (4)— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) April 16, 2018
This has reportedly lead to further uncertainty regarding Hart’s club future, with his season-long loan with the Hammers due to expire in the summer.
At present, his underlying fears behind his current West Ham form may be of greater concern in terms of his international prospects. Hart will be 35 by the time the next World Cup comes around, meaning a place in Southgate’s travelling party to Russia represents the last opportunity to represent his country on the biggest stage whilst still in his prime years.
Remember when Man City fans were absolutely fuming when Pep wanted to sell Joe Hart 😂😂😂— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) April 16, 2018
Dodged a bullet 🏆
A man-of-the-match performance in West Ham’s previous match, a 1-1 draw against Chelsea, proved that Hart still has the presence and reflex abilities required to earn his team valuable results. His saves in that match were the centrepiece of a resolute West Ham performance, earning his side a vital point in their quest for Premier League survival.
More of that kind of form could yet rescue Hart’s prospects of England selection, as he faces competition from the likes of Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford and Burnley’s Nick Pope. Hart will be counting on his track record of big game experience and title winning success in the past with Manchester City, as well as more of the same from the draw with Chelsea and less of what he displayed against Stoke on Monday night.
Worryingly, Hart did not play in either of England’s previous friendly matches against Holland and Italy last month. Whether this was to give experience to the younger candidates for Southgate’s goalkeeping spots, or a sign that the England boss is losing faith in the long-serving shot-stopper remains to be seen.