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European Qualifiers Group E

Hodgson backing for Hart

Roy Hodgson has leapt to the defence of Joe Hart whose form has come under the spotlight after his below-par display in Manchester City's UEFA Champions League defeat against Bayern Munich.

Last Updated: 04/10/13 at 08:02 Post Comment

Hart was included by Hodgson for the crucial World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland which could see England qualify for the World Cup if they win both matches.

And despite some impressive recent performances from Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster, the England coach insists Hart remains his first-choice goalkeeper.

"He kept clean sheets against Moldova and Ukraine," he said. "We have let in three goals in eight games so it'll take a lot more than one bad game from any player before I start suggesting he is replaced by somebody.

"He is clearly the number one. We're pleased with Fraser, we think he's done really, really well and I think he's got a great future.

"But certainly I think it will be a mistake to suggest he should be given the responsibility of these two vitally important games.

"The players who have the most experience are the ones who have to make certain they deserve it and that they are worthy of it in these two games. Then we'll see what Fraser can do."

Hodgson believes goalkeepers can be an easy target when things go wrong and reiterated his faith in Hart, who has been capped 35 times by his country.

"It's a little bit easier to criticise the goalkeeper for what you think is a mistake than maybe the midfielder whose poor play two or three moments earlier has provoked the goal chance in the first place," he said.

"I believe Joe will shrug this off. I am sure he is not happy with the criticism, I'm sure he is not happy to have let in goals which maybe he thinks he could have stopped but this is a fact of life.

"As far as I am concerned he has never let me or the team down during the time I have been working with him so I have every confidence every faith in him that he will have the confidence to put this behind him."

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