The question of who should be England’s number one goalkeeper has surely been answered after Joe Hart’s performance against Bulgaria on Friday evening.
It was the City keeper who effectively provided England with a 2-0 lead when he stopped Chavdar Yankov’s drive with the score at 1-0. Within 14 seconds of that save, Jermain Defoe doubled England’s lead and secured the match. Hart later went on to make a better, more impressive one on one save from Stanislav Angelov to cement his place between the sticks for Tuesday’s trip to Switzerland.
But how England boss Fabio Capello must rue his decision to play Robert Green in goal for the World Cup opener against USA in South Africa. Hart went into the tournament as the most in form keeper out of the three, with David James recovering from injury and Green unconvincing.
On Friday, Hart looked composed and assured as England’s last line of defence and it was clear that nothing was going to get past him. It would have taken something extremely special to have beaten the young City keeper last night. It has been known for some time that Hart has all the qualities that make a good England keeper and, at just 23, he will be the national side’s number one choice for at least the next ten years, if not longer.
But while Capello will take all the plaudits for giving Hart his big chance, the credit should really be down to the player himself, who has not only forced his way to the top of the England pecking order, but also dislodged Shay Given as City’s number one choice. The former Shrewsbury man has come a long way but his journey is just beginning.
This kid is going far.
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