Hart takes nothing for granted

12 June 2014 04:17

Joe Hart believes there are a host of goalkeepers capable of replacing him for both club and country, with that competition fuelling his determination to have a successful World Cup.

This has been a topsy-turvy campaign for the 27-year-old, who was displaced at Manchester City by Costel Pantilimon following some underwhelming performances.

However, rather than wilt, Hart fought his way back into Manuel Pellegrini's side and helped them to the Barclays Premier League crown - success he had little time to revel in with a World Cup to think about.

Four years after being third-choice, he is now undisputed number one and intent on keeping it that way by helping the Three Lions enjoy a successful summer.

"I am really enjoying what I am doing and really enjoy the opportunities that are coming my way," Hart said, speaking ahead of Saturday's Group D opener against Italy.

"I am well aware that can change really quickly as I am with two sides they can pick from any goalkeeper they want.

"England have got an amazing array of goalkeepers. We've got two here alongside me, who I think any team around the world would want.

"Obviously at Manchester City they are capable of buying or bringing in whoever they want, whoever they need to.

"I've got to be at my best, I've got to be working hard and you've got to stay level-headed otherwise it can go wrong."

Hart will not have to worry about Pantilimon next season given he has left City, nor, it seems, does he need to be concerned about his England rivals.

Ben Foster last week said there was no competition between the goalkeepers as he knew his role was back-up to Hart, with Fraser Forster filling the role as third choice.

"Ben is a fantastic goalkeeper and we're really luck that, as a unit, we've got a lot of respect for each other on and off the field," Hart said.

"He has been absolutely fantastic since he's come back in, a real breathe of fresh air, and the same goes for Frase as well.

"We work well as a group. We get the best out of each other and want the best for each other.

"If Ben was to play, he would have my utmost support and I would want him to do well.

"I think we're doing a lot for each other. We are working hard as a unit. We have a lot of support for each other and have a lot of respect for each other.

"I think it helps that we like each other on a personal basis as well as a football basis. I've got a good relationship with the goalkeeping coach and we're just trying to get the best out of each other.

"We realise what an opportunity this is. They don't come around all the time but, like I say, we're just trying to get the best from it and I think the best way of doing that is to work hard and work well as a team."

Those comments highlight the feel-good factor around the camp heading into Saturday's opening match against Italy, when Hart will come up against a familiar face.

Mario Balotelli's two-and-a-half years at City will live long in the memory, with the shot of him revealing a t-shirt saying 'Why Always Me?' after scoring at Old Trafford encapsulating that spell.

Put to Hart that England will be hoping not to be saying 'why always him?' this weekend, the goalkeeper laughed and said: "You never know with him, do you? He is an exciting player, a good person and someone I am looking forward to seeing again.

"We had a long time working together and I speak highly of everyone I have played with."

Balotelli and his team-mates arrive in Manaus on the eve of the match, whereas England touched down in the Amazon on Thursday.

The heat and humidity is expected to play a major role in the Group D clash, although Hart feels ready having spent time in the Algarve, Miami and Rio de Janeiro.

"We're used to it now," he said. "We've worked really hard on making sure we are comfortable being uncomfortable.

"The human body is an amazing thing and means you can adapt. We have adapted the best we can and we're feeling good."

Source: PA