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Hart ready for brickbats and barbs
Published : 11 Oct 2010 07:33:00
England goalkeeper Joe Hart expects criticism if he fails to maintain his good form, but feels he is "lucky" to be learning at Manchester City. Joe Hart has been built up - now he is steeling himself for a fall. Despite being plastered on the front pages enjoying some down time in Spain last week, it would be a major surprise if Hart was not in goal for England's Euro 2012 qualifier with Montenegro at Wembley on Tuesday. The 23-year-old had enough admirers in the summer calling for his inclusion during the Three Lions' dismal World Cup campaign. When he was finally installed as Fabio Capello's number one ahead of the August friendly win over Hungary, it was merely confirming what many have known for some time; Hart is a goalkeeper of outstanding ability. Apart from one bad mistake against Blackburn, plaudits have continued to be paid at regular intervals following a string of outstanding performances with both club and country. But the Manchester City star is only too aware that a day will come when the critics' judgement will be harsh. He merely views it as part of his education. "I am well aware that the pressure is there," Hart told thefa.com. "People build you up and as soon as anything does go slightly wrong, then they are hard on you. "But that is the nature of the game and if I want to be at the top level, then I think you've just got to be prepared for things like that. "It is another thing you need to work on. Another thing you need to be good at is taking criticism." As far as his international career is concerned, Hart is benefiting from the continuity that comes from having so many Manchester City players around him, and Capello's nationality. Although the wily old Juventus coach is far more experienced than City boss Roberto Mancini, they share the same thought processes, which is making life easier for Hart, who has still only won six caps. "Obviously our manager at Manchester City is a lot younger and not quite done what the England manager has in the game," he said. "But there are definite similarities in the way they do things and the way they want things to be done. "It is the norm for me now. In fact, it would feel weird for me not to work with an Italian manager now because everywhere I am, they are there. "It is great. They have a real winning attitude they bring towards the players." In Hart's eyes, both Capello and Mancini benefit from the squads they are able to work with. The depth of Capello's squad was tested last month, when John Terry and Rio Ferdinand missed the opening win over Bulgaria, then Michael Dawson was forced to withdraw from the team that beat Switzerland in Basle. This time, Dawson and Phil Jagielka were already missing out before Terry became the third player to lose a fitness fight in as many days. Yet, as Terry made his way back to Chelsea to discover the seriousness of a back injury that hurts enough to ensure he could play no part in Tuesday, Hart was still stressing the positives. "I am lucky that both squads I am involved in are packed full of great players and competition for places is so high that no training session can be just binned off," he said. "You have to be 100 per cent and pushing yourself all the time and I think that is really helping me as a young player." With Terry out, Rio Ferdinand is now under the spotlight, with Capello still to decide whether the Manchester United man will retain the captaincy ahead of Steven Gerrard. "Steven is in that category of being amongst the best and most respected players in the world," said Hart. "To have people like that in your team is so good. "You can just look to them and they will pull you out when needed. "They give you the kind of advice you need and really make you perform to your best because they have such high standards."