Will Hart make a return to the England set-up?
By talkSPORT – @talkSPORT
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Paul Robinson believes Joe Hart is capable of rediscovering the form that earned him 75 England caps, and therefore regaining his place as the national team’s goalkeeper.
The 31-year-old Manchester City goalkeeper was left out of England’s World Cup squad following a disappointing season on loan at West Ham, with the inexperienced Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope instead selected for this summer’s showpiece tournament in Russia.
Robinson, who made 41 England appearances himself and was the first choice at the World Cup in 2006, reckons that amid Hart’s poor form, the “excellent” Pickford has established himself as manager Gareth Southgate’s safest option.
The retired goalkeeper was among those overlooked by Fabio Capello when Hart was selected as one of three keepers for the same competition in 2010, and, in the same way Capello later attempted to recall him – Robinson instead retired from international duty – he is adamant Hart’s omission need not represent the end of his England career.
“The lad’s had 75 caps,” he told Press Association Sport. “You don’t get them for nothing. He’s had a great England career. He’s having a rough time at club level, he needs to find a new home, and there’s no reason why he can’t get himself back into the set-up.
“He’s of the age where he can go again. He needs to settle his club career, find a home – rather than going on loan – get himself settled, get himself happy again, get his confidence, and without a shadow of a doubt he can be involved again.
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“(Pickford, Butland and Pope) are very good. Pickford’s excellent. He’s had a great season. You can see his shot-stopping, his distribution, his all-round game. It was a big step up for him going from Sunderland, where they were getting beat every week, but he was making lots of saves in those games.
“He went to Everton, where he was then expected to make saves at a bigger club and he’s grown; you forget how young he is (24) as well. He’s only got two caps but he’s the best English goalkeeper at the moment. What Nick Pope’s done this year is (also) outstanding.
“Jack’s got himself to a level where he looks like he’ll move on from Stoke. If he gets a move in the coming weeks, which he probably needs, then he’ll progress again next year.”