Joe Hart gets vote of confidence

England coach Roy Hodgson has thrown down a challenge to Manchester’s Joe Hart. On current form, it’s a safe bet that the error-prone goalkeeper will drop it.

Hart came in for criticism for his performance against Bayern Munich when he was beaten twice by near post shots. Indeed, Hodgson’s assistant, Gary Neville, working as a TV pundit on that match, was candid in his assessment of Hart’s performance.

“You have to say Joe Hart’s got to do better again at that near post (for the third),” said Neville. “That’s twice he’s been beaten there tonight. He’ll be disappointed again.”

Hart was included in England’s squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland and although there have been calls for him to be dropped from the national team, Hodgson has assured the hapless keeper that he remains his number one choice.

“I have no doubt Joe will come through this and put one bad game behind him,” Hodgson said.

“I am not blind to the situation, I do realise it is not a good moment for Joe.”

“He is a proud man and a very good goalkeeper and I am sure when he is criticised he is unhappy.

“I still believe in Joe. I believe he is the right man for the job and I don’t believe he will let England down.”

Hart’s patchy form, not just on Wednesday night, but throughout the season thus far, does bring to mind something David Platt said earlier in the season.

Platt, who worked under former City manager Roberto Mancini, revealed that the club had planned to replace Joe with Stoke City’s Asmir Begovic this summer.

The former City assistant manager reportedly told Al Jazeera: “If Mancini and I were still at Man City this year Joe Hart wouldn’t be there. We made a decision to sign Asmir Begovic.”