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Hodgson right to keep Hart off England’s keeper scrapheap

| 08.10.2013

Joe Hart’s attempts to complete a DVD’s worth of goalkeeping gaffs by mid-autumn have rightly raised eyebrows about his England’s number one status, but if the Three Lions make it to Brazil, it’s important the nation retains the faith.

The position of goalkeeper is unique in so many ways, but first and foremost it’s the one position on the pitch steeped in trust – of the keeper’s fellow players, fans and manager alike.

And in turn this trust breeds confidence within the goalie himself, which then rubs off on the players around them and most importantly the back four.

But too often in the past, England’s number ones have been vilified for their mistakes and consigned without a care to the Three Lions goalkeeping graveyard, where whatever trust has been built up is shattered.

Fans of England will need no reminding of what befell Rob Green at the World Cup in 2010 or indeed Scott Carson or Paul Robinson in previous qualifying campaigns for international tournaments.

This doesn’t mean to say that a keeper who keeps on making mistakes relentlessly should escape reprisal, but a dip in form or the odd blunder must be allowed, if the end gain is to be achieved – in this case success at a major tournament.

You only have to look at some of the most successful footballing nations in the world, such as Spain and Italy, to see what sticking with a long-term number one can do for the confidence of the defence they command.

There’s no denying Hart needs a big performance, though successive clean sheets for his country are easily forgotten in the media storm which followed his erroneous display for Manchester City against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Hart is 17/10 to keep the Montenegrins out at Wembley, while a win to nil for the hosts is available at 23/20.

It’s vital for Hart’s confidence going forward that Hodgson stands by him, as he’s done to his credit, so that if England make it to Brazil as is expected, the team’s identity is preserved and the trust is maintained.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.