Hodgson hoping Hart can inspire

06 June 2012 12:47

England manager Roy Hodgson on Tuesday underlined the importance of Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart to his team's plans as they prepare for Euro 2012.

Hodgson, whose side open their Group D campaign against France on June 11 in Donetsk, Ukraine, will head out to Krakow on Wednesday and stressed the importance of a strong goalkeeper to inspire confidence through the team.

"His form for Manchester City has been superb," said Hodgson.

"When he has played for England he has done very well and if we are to do well there is no doubt we will need Joe Hart in top form."

England have a tradition of world-class goalkeepers stretching back to Gordon Banks and the likes of Peter Shilton and current England coach Ray Clemence - but more recent shot-stoppers have found it harder to impose themselves as a regular first choice.

With Ben Foster having quit the England scene and Norwich international rookie John Ruddy ruled out through injury Hart is the clear first choice ahead of Robert Green of West Ham and Jack Butland, who has only lower league experience with Cheltenham to draw on.

Hart, 25, can draw on the experience of his Premier League title success with City and Hodgson hopes he will prove a true bedrock for his side.

"If you look at the top England teams of the past we have often had a goalkeeper that people have suggested is one of the best in Europe or, in the case of Gordon Banks, in the world," Hodgson said.

Source: AFP

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 16:17