After his poor display against Bayern Munich - where he was mostly responsible for two of the three goals that City conceded - Joe Hart needed to bounce back against Everton.

The signs did not look good when, in the 16th minute of Saturday's game, Hart was unable to save from Lukaku's curled effort, despite getting a strong hand to the ball.

However, City managed to win the game 3-1 and Hart performed well for the rest of the match. It was touch and go as to whether England's number one would start the game against the Toffees. Manuel Pellegrini, the City manager, said to the BBC after the game that, "it wasn't a simple decision [to play Hart]. It was a very difficult decision."

Whether or not Pellegrini saw past Hart's failed attempt to save from Lukaku, it remains to be seen. Yet the feeling persists that the goalkeeper is not playing at the level that has seen him win the Premier League Golden Glove Award for the last three seasons.

If Pellegrini had chosen to start back-up keeper Costel Pantilimon instead, Hart may have lost further confidence; something very dangerous given that he will be England's number one in the crucial World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland.

But Hart did start, and given his fist-pump at the end of the game, his confidence has indeed been boosted. That can only be good news for Manchester City and England.

Despite the hope that he is now returning to form, Hart cannot afford to make any more mistakes. Pellegrini has only recently taken over at Manchester City, he may therefore decide to put a goalkeeper of his choice into the starting XI. Pantilimon is highly regarded by staff and players alike, managing to keep four clean sheets in a row in the FA Cup last season.

City's manager could also opt to delve into the transfer market for an established keeper, Stoke City's Asmir Begovic was a reportedly a target for Roberto Mancini before the Italian was sacked last season.

If Hart does fail to keep his starting place at City, there is a good chance that he will move on to another club. It could also place his England number-one spot in further jeopardy. Whatever happens, good performances against Montenegro and Poland will be the minimum that the former Shrewsbury player will be hoping for.

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