Football

Joe Hart: Nowhere near world's best

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To most fans of English football, Joe Hart is seen as a goalkeeping superstar.

Since his  breakthrough year on loan at Birmingham and then securing his status as number one for Manchester City, Hart has been considered by many as the best goalkeeper in the Premier League and maybe even the world.

With his slump in form last season and yet another howler against Scotland for England, were football fans too quick to praise the 26-year-old?

On his day, Hart is close to unbeatable, he is capable of pulling off saves out of the very top drawer.

The 2009-10 season was the England keeper's breakthrough season whilst on loan at Midlands club Birmingham City. The youngster had a nervous start to his spell at St.Andrew's, making errors which cost his team goals.

However his performances improved and he impressed with his shot stopping ability, showing quick reflexes.

But his exuberant confidence was what influenced Roberto Mancini to choose Hart over Shay Given as City's number one following the end of his time in Birmingham.

His ability to shrug off competition from Given, one of the Premier League's greatest goalkeepers had English fans drooling.

Since then he has installed himself as England's undisputed number one and won the Premier League with Manchester City, however, having achieved so much so quickly, has Hart become over confident in his ability?

He has always been a confident character on the pitch, as most goalkeepers need to be to command their box, however, whereas in the past he could back this up with safe hands, his recent performances almost make him seem arrogant, probably due to the fact he faces no competition for his position at City or guarding England's goal. 

This misplaced sense of confidence was also noticed by Italian maestro Andrea Pirlo, who embarrassed Hart with a Panenka penalty at Euro 2012 and later said that the English keeper "had to get off his high horse".

Hart had a grin on his face during the penalty shoot out and jumped up and down on his line, however, Pirlo's penalty left him red faced and clearly knocked his confidence.

One of Hart's biggest clangers was against Blackburn at the Etihad Stadium when he ran out of his box to clear a long ball by Morten Gamst Pedersen. 

Instead of clearing the ball he tried to chest the ball down but completely misjudged the bounce and the ball was left for Nikola Kalinic to tap into an empty net.

Last season away to Southampton was another disappointing performance from Hart, as he let a Rickie Lambert shot squirm through his arms and between his legs as Saints secured a shock win.

Against Scotland, even though he saw James Morrison's shot late, a keeper of his supposed ability should have been able to save that without any trouble. 

However it was almost as if Hart was not focused as that was a basic handling error.

If England had another goalkeeper competing for the number one spot, the incumbent would probably work harder and not have let himself become complacent.

However Jack Butland, Ben Foster and Robert Green are nowhere near being ready to wear the gloves for England, so Hart's complacency will continue for the foreseeable future. 

If Iker Casillas makes a mistake for Spain, Victor Valdes or Pepe Reina are on hand to take over his spot. In Italy, if Gianluigi Buffon doesn't perform Salvatore Sirigu or Federico Marchetti would increase the pressure on the goalkeeping legend.

Germany have an abundance of top quality goalkeepers with Manuel Neuer, Rene Adler and Marc-Andre ter Stegen all vying for the number one jersey.

England lack of quality replacements for Joe Hart is the primary reason for the keeper's dip in form.

He was thoroughly impressive at the start of his career when he was being pushed for his spot by Shay Given at Manchester City as he had a point to prove.

Now that his position is secured, complacency has overshadowed his game. The cry of some England fans that Hart was the world's best goalkeeper now seems extremely premature.

However, at only 26, he still has time to improve on his consistency and maybe in the future he can stake his claim as the best keeper in the world. Until then however, England fans must accept that although being the best in the country, Joe Hart has a long way to go to be considered as the best internationally. 

 

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Topics:
England Football
Manchester City
Premier League
Football
Joe Hart

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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