England have suffered almost a decade of ignominious exits from major tournaments as a result of embarrassing howlers by a succession of keepers.
David Seaman's misjudgment against Brazil in the 2002 World Cup in Japan was just the start of a sequence that included Paul Robinson in Croatia in November 2006; Scott Carson in the return at Wembley a year later and, this summer, Robert Green against the USA in Rustenburg.
Top drawer: Joe Hart produced another solid performance in goal for England against Bulgaria
But, with a performance against Bulgaria on Friday night that oozed confidence, 23-year-old Manchester City giant Hart gave an indication that England's problems at No1 are over.
Ray Clemence, England's goalkeeping coach and himself a former distinguished wearer of the coveted international jersey, said: 'When it was needed against Bulgaria, he pulled off three or four excellent saves which influenced the game and that is what top international keepers do.
'He has come in, looked comfortable and done what international keepers do. They may not have lots to do but, when called upon, they make the saves that matter, particularly the one where straight off the back of it we scored the second goal.
'I'm not going to put any pressure on him. Joe is a young lad who has just come into the side, this is his fifth international and in each one he has looked more comfortable, as though to say "I can cope with this, I'll deal with it" and he has done.
'I saw his performance for Manchester City at Tottenham a few weeks ago and it was a bit special.
'He looks difficult to beat for opposing forwards and he feels he is very difficult to beat. And he is just as keen on the training ground as on the pitch.'
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