England news: Goalkeeper Joe Hart unfazed by challenge for number one jersey

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England goalkeeper Joe Hart has been fighting for his place since the Sunday league days and is not about to stop ahead of the World Cup.

The 30-year-old is far and away the most experienced member of Gareth Southgate’s squad, having made more than twice as many appearances as the next most capped player.

READ MORE: England fans fume as West Ham’s Joe Hart is handed call-up, but delight for uncapped quartet
 

However, Hart is facing a fight for a place in the World Cup squad never mind a starting role after struggling for game-time and form on loan at West Ham.

But this is not the first time the 75-cap shot-stopper has faced adversity and he is ready to meet the challenge head on.

“It’s no different to any moment that I’ve been (playing football),” Hart said.

“Even when I was trying to get into my Sunday league team, it was the same script: people want to play football.

“That’s no different to the one here.

“I am not here to answer critics. I am here to play football, enjoy what I do and try and help my team the best way I can.”

Hart’s position has looked precarious for a while, but Southgate has backed him to the hilt and last August insisted he remained England’s best goalkeeper.

But his change in circumstances at West Ham has led the Three Lions boss to reassess his options, admitting at last week’s squad announcement that “clearly the number one jersey is up for grabs”.

“It was a long enough gap where we didn’t really need to discuss it until recently,” Hart said.

“Obviously checked in, he likes to check on his players and see where we’re at physically and mentally.

“Just answered the questions he had for me and luckily I found myself in the last game and hopefully I can continue that for the rest of the season.”

Hart is one of four goalkeepers selected for the upcoming friendlies against Holland and Italy, joining Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford and uncapped Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope.

“He’s done fantastic,” Hart said of the new boy Pope. “He’s had a great season.

“Obviously, I don’t know how you feel but Tom Heaton is a big part of the squad, a really important guy and a good friend of mine.

“We were devastated for him when he got that injury, but Nick has come in and done great.

“I’ve spent two or three days with him now and he looks like a really strong keeper.”



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