Milner: Hart is outstanding

  • Last Updated: September 3 2013, 18:01 BST

James Milner has told England's rivals they will have to think again if they believe Joe Hart is the weak link in Roy Hodgson's starting XI.

Joe Hart trains on Tuesday.
Joe Hart trains on Tuesday.

Hart's position as first-choice goalkeeper for Manchester City and England has come in to question over the last few months after a number of unusually erratic displays from a goalkeeper who is generally considered one of the best in Europe.

Hart's last performance for England was not up to scratch. He let in a weak James Morrison shot in to give Scotland the lead at Wembley at the start of the month and he put on a bad display against Cardiff 11 days later.

Hart is expected to have a quiet evening when England play Moldova on Friday night, but he will come under extreme pressure when the Three Lions play Ukraine in Kiev four days later.

After watching Hart in action at St George's Park on Tuesday, Milner is in no doubt that England's number one is at the top of his game, however.

"It's funny," Milner said when asked about Hart's form. "He was absolutely outstanding in training today. He was unbeatable.

"He didn't look too much out of form today. He was outstanding."

Until Hart started to establish himself in the England team, the national side had struggled to find a regular and reliable number one since David Seaman won his last cap in 2002.

The Manchester City stopper has rarely been out of the side since 2010. A lack of real competition has helped him, but the 26-year-old's excellent displays for City are the main reason behind his regular presence in the England starting XI.

Milner thinks his team-mate is paying the price for the high standards he has set himself over the last few years, and backed Hart to respond well to the criticism he has been receiving of late.

"He has been so good since he became England's number one," the Manchester City midfielder added.

"Everyone has ups and downs in form. Maybe people expect to be at that high level all the time.

"Last year, the home game against Borussia Dortmund stood out. We ended up drawing (1-1) and we could have easily lost 9-1. He kept us in the game single-handedly.

"Sometimes it is difficult when you are England's number one. People just remember the bad side and the good things are expected. He is an amazing keeper and what is being said will only make him stronger.

"That is one of the things about being a goalkeeper. It is unfortunate.

"I make a mistake and I have four defenders and a keeper to bail me out. As a goalkeeper, when you make a mistake it is in the net. That is the job.

"He is a victim of his own success. He will just concentrate on his football."


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