Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has hinted that Joe Hart will continue to play second fiddle to Costel Pantilimon by suggesting England's number one needs rest.

Hart has been out of the City first team since his error let Fernando Torres in to score a last minute winner for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on October 27. 

He returned to first team action with the Three Lions against Germany on Tuesday, putting in a solid performance in the national side's 1-0 defeat. 

However, despite pulling off two impressive saves and standing no chance with Per Mertesacker's guided header, his Chilean club manager does not seem to have plans to recall him against Tottenham this weekend.

He told Sky Sports News Arabia, as quoted on the ITV website, before England's match up with their old international enemy: "I think at this moment that maybe Joe needs a rest but we still have a lot of trust in him and he's still a very important player in our squad.

"I am absolutely sure that this will be an important thing for him to come back to his performances of the last two years."

His cause has not been helped by his Romanian team mates performances between the sticks since Hart was dropped, with Pantilimon keeping two clean sheets in the four matches he has played. 

It's the longest run of games the usual back-up 'keeper has enjoyed since arriving at the Etihad in the 2011 summer transfer window. 

And Pellegrini insists it's important each squad member gets a fair opportunity to show their capabilities: "It's very important for me as a manager - you don't have 11 players - you have 22.

"I analyse what they do every week - I talk with them."

The Premier League runners-up have started life under the former Malaga manager indifferently, proving unbeatable at home, while losing four of their six away games domestically. 

Their impenetrable home record will be sternly tested when Andre Villas-Boas' Tottenham side visit Manchester this Sunday. 

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Joe Hart