Shay Given opines that West Ham first choice keeper Joe Hart is repaying the faith in him by Gareth Southgate. Ahead of England’s planned friendly games against Germany and Brazil, the Three Lions manager named Hart, Stoke City keeper Jack Butland and Everton’s shot stopper Jordan Pickford as goalkeepers. Butland later withdrew so Hart and Pickford are expected in between the sticks.
Given says the situation proves that Hart remains the first choice keeper for England. The Manchester City loanee has struggled at the London Stadium this term with his employers West Ham. However, the 30-year old player with 74 caps remains the key man for England in goal.
Hart’s place in the team was shaken with his loan move to Italian side and then the loan deal with the Hammers. However, he seems to have found a stable shirt in the team again. Given, who played alongside Hart at the Etihad, is confident that Southgate would pick Hart as the “loyal boss” he is.
Given says it was important that Hart returned to England following his loan move last term. He feels the spotlight is back on the experienced keeper ahead of the World Cup next year, which England have qualified for.
“Next summer is a big summer for Joe and he’s desperate to hold on to that Jersey, with Jack Butland pushing him. Gareth has been very loyal to him,” Given added.
Given added that even when Hart’s performance dipped, Southgate retained confidence in him and that Hart repaid that confidence with good performances in subsequent matches. The pundit is happy that there is good competition for Hart in Butland, aside other very good keepers like Pickford, Fraser Forster and Tom Heaton.