Hodgson has faith in Hart

  • Last Updated: October 3 2013, 23:26 BST

England manager Roy Hodgson accepts Joe Hart has to tackle the criticism of his recent poor displays head on to again show why he was hailed by Wayne Rooney as the best goalkeeper in the world.

Hodgson has faith in Hart

Hart - who last season returned the most clean sheets out of any Barclays Premier League goalkeeper - produced another questionable display in Manchester City's 3-1 Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich at the Etihad Stadium, which led to some negative comments from England senior team coach Gary Neville in his post-match analysis as a TV pundit.

Hodgson, however, is in no doubt the 26-year-old remains very much in possession of the Three Lions jersey as he named the squad to face Montenegro and Poland - games which could seal England's qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

"I believe Joe won't transmit anxiety and will have the confidence, because he is the England number one goalkeeper - not long ago, under a year, he was being described as the world's best goalkeeper. You don't go from that to someone who doesn't deserve a place in the team," Hodgson said.

"It is unfortunate. It is a concern, of course. We would love to be going into this game with all the players in form, but that is not the case.

"As a national coach you have some players riding the crest of a wave and others less so; that is how it goes.

"I have to give them confidence and have confidence in them. They need to go out and perform."

Hodgson is in no doubt Hart will be his own biggest critic, but warned he must learn from such below-par performances.

The England manager continued: "There is no problem with that (criticism from Neville). He only ever calls things as he sees them.

"I heard what he said and I don't think it was that critical. It was more a matter of fact statement, and Joe is not afraid of criticism.

"Watching him walk off the pitch on Wednesday night, I am pretty sure he was disappointed and saddened by a performance he might see himself could have been so much better.

"But as a goalkeeper if you can't overcome those periods, you can't be a top goalkeeper, and Joe has done that in his career before."

He added: "As far as I'm concerned he's never let me or the team down in the time I've been working with him.

"I have every confidence and every faith in him that he will have the confidence to put this behind him."

Hodgson has both Norwich keeper John Ruddy and Celtic's Fraser Forster, who performed admirably in the 1-0 defeat to Barcelona, as his other options.

The England manager, though, insists now is not the time to opt for anything but experience.

"This is a game where Joe, who has played all the (qualifying) games, plays these two and makes up for any criticism that has been levelled at him," Hodgson said.

Scott Carson was handed his competitive international debut by Steve McClaren in the final Euro 2008 qualifying game against Croatia at Wembley, only to endure a nightmare in the 3-2 defeat which ended hopes of qualification - and resulted in the England manager's dismissal.

"I know that story, but that's not affected my decision," Hodgson continued.

"I think it is a big ask in these games to put someone in (with little experience)

"I am not greatly in favour, especially with goalkeepers, of dropping them the moment they have a bad game and put in someone who has had a good game. We have to look beyond that."

England are currently top of Group H heading into the final two ties, but only a point clear of Montenegro and Ukraine.

In attack, Hodgson is keeping his fingers crossed Manchester United forward Rooney will be fit after a shin problem.

Hodgson will aim to pair Rooney with Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge, a player who missed the goalless draw in Ukraine through injury when United forward Danny Welbeck was suspended.

Other than that, the England manager seemed content enough with the 23-man party, with Andros Townsend and James Milner options on the flanks for the injured Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while Everton's impressive 19-year-old midfielder Ross Barkley is again in the group.

He said: "I am hoping that, in this squad, I will have a good balance of players who can answer the questions."


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