Joe Hart has spoken about what he did the moment he knew his England career was over

Hart was informed by Southgate he wasn't part of his plans

To listen to Joe Hart speak about the last two years of his career, it's immediately clear how deeply his demise has affected him.

When the ball slithered through his hands for Iceland's winner in the last-16 at Euro 2016, it seemed to signal the end of something. 

Technically speaking, it was not the end - the goalkeeper played in the following year's World Cup qualifiers and arguably played a role in ensuring his team-mates made it to Russia.

Yet, when the time came, the 31-year-old was not on the plane.

From being replaced with the error-prone Claudio Bravo at Manchester City, to being sent on loan to Torino and subsequently West Ham, it's fair to say Hart has experienced a lot recently.

For the most part, he has taken criticisms in good humour. Now with Burnley, he greeted Cardiff fans singing "England's number four" with a laugh and a thumbs up.

The reality is quite different. Whereas most fans delighted in watching the Three Lions' performance this summer, for Hart it was tinged with sadness.

The moment Hart cut himself off 

Speaking to The Times, the stopper has admitted that the day before the tournament commenced, he removed himself from the England squad's WhatsApp ground and the FA's admin site for the players.

“I don’t need to know what time breakfast is," he explained.

“I took myself off the WhatsApp group but I checked in with some of the players, wished them well and then congratulated them.

Hart thought he had played well under Southgate

"I watched the games with family and friends. They’re English and this was a special moment, the summer of 2018 which we’ll remember, and I didn’t want to spoil it for them. I didn’t want them thinking, ‘I don’t want England to win because Joe’s upset.’”

Jordan Pickford cemented his place as the new number one, with Jack Butland and Nick Pope travelling as back-ups.

Why Southgate made the decision 

Nobody expected Hart to make the squad, but Gareth Southgate phoned him nonetheless to explain his exclusion.

On receiving that phone call, Hart added:

“It was really, really, really painful. I was given my reasons why I wasn’t in the World Cup squad.

“My performances weren’t good enough last season compared to other guys in the manager’s opinion.

“I feel I’d done a great job, especially while he [Southgate] was manager. I kept endless [seven] clean sheets in qualifying, was important galvanising the team, did a lot of work behind the scenes, so it was a really tough one to take.

Southgate made the decision not to take Hart to Russia

“It was so strange watching the World Cup. I love the boys so much. It made me proud because I did feel I’d helped. I was so pleased for what they were doing, the adulation they were getting, the way the country felt good, but at the same time it hurt like hell that I wasn’t there.

“I don’t want special treatment. I had a phone call [from Southgate] telling me I wasn’t in the squad and we’ve not spoken since."

On a more positive note, he now has a permanent home at Turf Moor and at the very least, he's back playing regular football. 

Is Hart still a decent PL-level goalkeeper? Have your say in the comments. 

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