Pellegrini backs England Hart start

08 November 2013 07:16

Manuel Pellegrini believes England boss Roy Hodgson is right to back Joe Hart - but will not confirm when he might return for Manchester City.

England goalkeeper Hart has lost his place in the City side after a series of costly errors, sitting out their most recent Barclays Premier League and Champions League games.

That has raised further questions over his position in the national side but Hodgson - although revealing he intends to look at other keepers this month - has made clear Hart remains his number one.

Hart has not played since his last-minute mix-up with Matija Nastasic condemned City to defeat at Chelsea a fortnight ago but will start one of the upcoming friendlies against Pellegrini's native Chile or Germany.

Pellegrini said: "I am happy, absolutely - he deserves to be in the squad.

"He has been the number one English goalkeeper for the whole of qualifying for the World Cup. I think he must be there."

Hart, however, is likely to remain on the bench as City travel to Sunderland on Sunday.

Back-up keeper Costel Pantilimon came in for last week's Capital One Cup tie at Newcastle and remained in place for the 7-0 thrashing of Norwich and 5-2 Champions League defeat of CSKA Moscow.

Pellegrini said: "I am thinking about what is the best for the team at this moment.

"At this moment, I repeat, I have trust in Pantilimon.

"But we will continue trusting in Joe and will see when he comes back."

City's victory over CSKA guaranteed a place in the last 16 of Europe's elite competition for the first time in the club's history.

Qualifying for the knockout stages, after failures in the past two years, had been a minimum objective for Pellegrini this season as the club aim to make an impact on the continental stage.

Pellegrini said: "For all the team (it was important), we were all involved in what we achieved in the last game. It was very important for the club also."

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Belgium 0 1 0 0 1
Panama 0 1 0 0 1
Tunisa 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0
Last updated : 16:48