Hodgson retains faith in Hart

Roy Hodgson admits the Germany friendly will be a "tough mental test" for Joe Hart, but the England manager believes his goalkeeper can cope.

Last Updated: 17/11/13 at 07:48 Post Comment   

Joe Hart: Still England's number one

Joe Hart: Still England's number one

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The 26-year-old has been a regular for club and country for more than three years but a series of blunders for Manchester City resulted in manager Manuel Pellegrini dropping the player.

Hodgson may have experimented with Fraser Forster on Friday, but there is no doubt that Hart remains his number one ahead of the World Cup.

Hart will therefore return in goal on Tuesday night when Germany visit Wembley.

After such a long list of high-profile errors, Hart would be forgiven for shaking with fear at the prospect of facing such a fierce team, but Hodgson feels he does not have to take the stopper to one side to warn him about the dangers that lie ahead.

"I always try hard to tell players things they haven't heard, I don't teach them to suck eggs," Hodgson said.

"Joe Hart is an experienced goalkeeper. He understands the way of the world. "He understands when he loses his place in the Man City team and is criticised for letting a couple in, what happened will happen.

"I don't need to take him to one side and say: 'By the way, Joe, this is what happens in football'. I have too much respect for him as a professional and a man."

In fairness to Hart, he has barely let England down since he took the gloves off David James after the last World Cup.

He should have done better to keep James Morrison's shot out against Scotland in August, but otherwise most of his errors have come for his club side.

That does not mean he is immune from criticism when it comes to his performances with England, however.

"(Tuesday) is a tough mental test, a test of attitude and application but I fully believe that Joe understands that and is ready for it," Hodgson added.

"All I can do is give him the chance to put the shirt on, go out and play and afterwards he will have to face whatever he faces.

"If he keeps a clean sheet, I am sure people will be saying some very good things about him.

"But if he lets a couple of easy goals in, he will have to accept criticism."

Another regular whose position has come under threat in recent months is Ashley Cole.

The Chelsea left-back performed superbly to keep Ukraine at bay in Kiev two months ago, but he lost his place to Leighton Baines because of a rib injury.

The Everton man starred in the wins over Poland and Montenegro, but he lost Alexis Sanchez for Chile's opener on Friday night and will be on the bench for the Germany game.

"Ashley Cole will start on Tuesday," Hodgson confirmed after the 2-0 defeat.

Hodgson denied that anything should be read into the fact that he started Baines against Chile, and the England manager is still far from certain who his first-choice left-back will be in Brazil.

"You could say that they are 50-50 if you want," the 66-year-old said.

"They are both good players. I am happy with both of them. "If we play our first game in Brazil and they are both fit and anxious to play, then I need to pick what I think is my best team.

"But that isn't the case in November. That will come in June and until then I will hopefully keep them both playing well."

Hodgson insists he is under no obligation to rest Wayne Rooney, so the Manchester United striker will start on Tuesday.

England hope Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge, Kyle Walker and Rickie Lambert will all return, but Phil Jones has been ruled out after he suffered a groin injury against Chile.

Andros Townsend is expected to be back in the starting XI and Adam Lallana could start on the opposite flank after he played well on debut.

Lallana's debut was one of very few plus points to come from a painful and sobering night against Chile that Hodgson wishes to forget quickly.

"It was a slap in the face," he said.

"But it would be foolish for us to take that disappointment in to the next game."

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