Football

Hart owes World Cup chance to McLeish

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Joe Hart wins his second cap this evening when England take on Mexico admitting he owes a big World Cup thank you to Alex McLeish.

Hart was contemplating a season sat on the bench watching Shay Given at Manchester City until McLeish stepped in to take the keeper on a year-long loan at Birmingham. The move paid off handsomely, both for the progressive St Andrew's outfit and Hart, whose outstanding performances throughout an impressive season saw him muscle his way into the group of three keepers named in Fabio Capello's 30-man provisional squad.

"I owe a lot to Birmingham for giving me the opportunity to go and play there," Hart told www.thefa.com. "Options were limited at Manchester City and Alex McLeish gave me a big chance to go and show what I could do."

He added: "Fabio Capello made it very clear that you had to be playing regularly to stand a chance of being involved with England, so what happened at Birmingham is 100% why I'm here."

It means Hart can look forward to being part of a World Cup rather than having to watch it on television.

His experience of the 2002 and 2006 tournaments leaves him knowing exactly what will be happening at home as Capello's men aim for glory.

"The whole country stands still," he said.

"The World Cup unites everyone. No matter who you support, even if you don't particularly like football, you can't help but get involved.

"You plan your week around it. You just get behind the team and want England to do well.

"That definitely helps and gives everyone around the team positive vibes."

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Topics:
Joe Hart
Football
Manchester City
Premier League
Alex
Shay Given
Birmingham
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