Hodgson: Hart will go on

Roy Hodgson says Joe Hart will start in one of England's two friendlies, but also plans to look at his other goalkeeping options.

Last Updated: 07/11/13 at 13:52 Post Comment

Manager Roy Hodgson has confirmed Joe Hart will start between the posts for one of England's two upcoming friendlies, but also plans to use the matches against Chile and Germany to look at his other goalkeeping options.

The Manchester City player has come under fire in recent weeks after a number of errors which have now cost him a place in Manuel Pellegrini's starting line-up.

Hart is in the 28-man England squad alongside Celtic's Fraser Forster and Norwich's John Ruddy, and Hodgson stressed he remains his first choice between the posts.

"He will start one of two games, yes," the manager said. "But I don't think he'll start both.

"It's important for me to to look at one of the other goalkeepers, possibly both.

"But I can say Joe will definitely start one of the games as he's our number one goalkeeper."

However, Hodgson refused to criticise Pellegrini's decision to keep Hart on the sidelines for City's last three matches.

He said: "Every manager must manage his club in the way he thinks is the best way to manage the club and make the decision regarding players that he must make.

"I do the same thing. As far as I'm concerned I look at the English goalkeepers who are available and then I choose the ones I want. Having chosen the ones I want, I then pick the one I think is best to play in goal.

"Up to now that's been Joe Hart and will continue to be so, certainly for these games.

"Manuel Pellegrini at Man City is totally entitled to do the job he wants to do with the club."

Hodgson also sprang two big surprises by naming uncapped Southampton duo Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana in his squad.

Rodriguez has scored four times for Saints this term while his 25-year-old team-mate Lallana has been in good form for the south-coast club, who are flying high in the Barclays Premier League.

Hodgson said of their inclusions: "Adam was with us once a long time ago but he came in late and didn't play, but we did see him in training.

"We've been following him very closely and he's played a major part in Southampton's rise to the top this season. It was quite obvious we would pick him.

"When it comes to Rodriguez, Danny Welbeck at the moment has been injured. We hope he'll be fit to play but I see in Rodriguez someone who could fill that Welbeck role.

"He's a wide forward who likes to go forward and attack people even without the ball and get in the penalty box. We think he's played well for Southampton and think this might be an interesting opportunity for him."

Hodgson was facing the media for the first time since the controversy surrounding his half-time team talk in the World Cup qualifier against Poland.

The former Inter Milan and Liverpool boss told a joke to illustrate why his players should give the ball to winger Andros Townsend but was forced to apologise after claims it was racist.

When asked if he regretted the remark, Hodgson said: "It's difficult to really regret innocent remarks but I've apologised for them if such an innocent remark, at least in my eyes, could have caused any offence.

"I don't wish to even think about it any more. I don't want to tarnish the achievement of the players in getting to the World Cup. It's over and done with."

The reporter who broke the news of Hodgson's comment was adamant it came via a dressing room mole but the Three Lions boss does not feel that will have a bearing on the spirit within the camp, adding: "I trust the players implicitly.

"The atmosphere at training and in the dressing room is outstanding. I have rarely worked with a club side with a spirit that's any better than here.

"It's happened and if you are asking if I'm happy it's happened then no I am not.

"It was an innocent remark which has been misconstrued. It's been discussed and talked about but it's over and I move on."


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