Joe Hart: England goalkeeper for years to come
Manchester City star is the best goalkeeper in the country
Joe Hart is deservedly England's number one goalkeeper at present.
He has proven at Manchester City and with England that he has the quality to become one of the best England goalkeepers in the world and possibly one of the best of all time. Add this to the lack of competition from elsewhere and it is not hard to see why he will add many more caps to the 29 already achieved.
Yes, Hart has made mistakes; most goalkeepers do. But Hart is still very young for a goalkeeper and is still learning his trade. Many people forget that Joe Hart is still only 25 years of age. The problem for Hart is that he is learning the game in the spotlight of the Premier League and international football, where every mistake is magnified ten-fold.
He has worked hard to be where he is today. Hart has had to battle for his place at Manchester City with the likes of Shay Given and has had to learn the art of goalkeeping with loan spells at Birmingham City, Tranmere Rovers and Blackpool. Clearly Manchester City rate Hart very highly otherwise they would have used their significant transfer funds to strengthen this part of their squad by now. Their faith in him has been rewarded.
To add to the argument that Hart looks set for an extended spell as England's number one is the fact that England are not blessed with a great depth in goalkeepers able to rival Hart. Goalkeepers need to be playing games and the problem, particularly in the Premier League, is that there are many quality foreign goalkeepers who are obviously barring any potential England keepers from playing.
Recently England have looked to the Championship for goalkeeping talent. Jack Butland has sampled the England atmosphere which has led to a summer transfer from Championship side Birmingham to Premier League Stoke City. However, he is more of a long-term option, especially as he possesses no Premier League experience so far.
John Ruddy at Norwich has been in England squads and has performed well for Norwich when he has played. One player to have gained recognition this season is Celtic's Fraser Forster, who has risen to prominence particularly after great performances in the Champions League.
There are older players who have all played for England in their time but they have all been guilty of errors with the England shirt on and have ultimately paid the price for them. The likes of Ben Foster, Robert Green and Scott Carson have all been guilty of these errors. Only Foster has forced his way back into the England reckoning. The only saving grace for Foster is that, at the age of 29, he still has plenty more years left as a top-flight goalkeeper due to their tendency to mature later.
Hart is clearly in a position of strength at the moment but things can quickly change for an England goalkeeper. Hart will hope that he can avoid injury, maintain his form and avoid any major mistakes which may open the door for others.
The question is whether England has the strength in depth to pressurise Hart for his number one spot and whether anybody, given the chance, can hold on to it if the opportunity arises?
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