Hart has world at his feet - Hughes

23 March 2009 04:00
Mark Hughes has assured Joe Hart he still has a big future at Manchester City - and backed the young goalkeeper to become England's number one.The inevitable consequence of Shay Given's £6million arrival from Newcastle was that Hart would be overlooked when Fabio Capello named his squad for the matches against Slovakia and Ukraine.Instead, Ben Foster and Robert Green will supply the back-up to established number one David James - leaving Hart to lick his wounds on the Under-21s trip to Norway.The decision will only reinforce Hart's belief that he needs to look elsewhere to get regular action, with Hughes happy to oblige next season by allowing the former Shrewsbury goalkeeper to leave on loan.But the City chief is adamant the move will only be temporary and forms part of the harsh education Hart must undergo if he is to fulfil his immense potential."It is important Joe knows our feelings with regard to his ability," said Hughes. "Joe is going to be England's outstanding goalkeeper for the next 10 or 15 years."But it is right that we have been able to take him out of the fire, allow him to step back and see where he is."It is different with outfield players, because you can keep taking them out and putting them back in again. You can't do that with a goalkeeper, and there are too many examples of young lads who have ended up burnt and scarred and never recovered."I don't want that to happen with Joe."Hughes' stance certainly has nothing to do with Hart's performances this season, because the 21-year-old has proved himself to be a reliable member of the City team.But Given does not make the minor mistakes goalkeepers of such inexperience are prone to; hence his January arrival from St James' Park."I said at the outset we needed an experienced goalkeeper," recalled Hughes. "I made an offer for Brad Friedel - and even though in the end nothing happened, I still felt we needed more experience because Joe was bound to suffer fluctuations in form. The opportunity with Shay presented itself, and when that happens you have to move."Initially Joe found it very difficult. But he has got his head down now and knows he has to work."We can then look at him going out on loan next year - because we want them to develop, and maybe just training day after day is not what they need."It is something we will definitely investigate, while always keeping in mind we want them as players for Manchester City."If Hart had any reservations over Hughes' preferred career path, Micah Richards' situation should focus his mind.When he burst on to the first-team scene as a 17-year-old and was almost instantly catapulted into the England squad to become the youngest defender to wear the Three Lions, the world appeared Richards' oyster.But after 11 caps, the Birmingham-born youngster suddenly hit a flat spot - from which, 18 months on, he is only just starting to recover.A match-winning performance against Sunderland on Sunday provided further proof Richards is starting to move forward again."Micah is not the finished article - everyone accepts that," said Hughes."There are elements of his game he knows he has to improve. If he doesn't, he won't get to the level everyone wants him."But the experience he has already gained will help him later in his career."

Source: Eurosport