After being benched for his second game in a row at West Ham Joe Hart’s chances of being England’s number one in Russia are still just a dream. But how did it go so wrong for the two time Premier League winner?
It all starts with the departure Manuel Pelligrini back in 2016. It was announced in March of last year that Pep Guardiola would be in the dugout for the start of the 2016/17 season and that announcement started the nosedive of City’s form which saw them just scrape into the top four and a lot of the blame was placed on Hart for numerous blunders. Then 2016 just got worse for Hart after misjudging a Gareth Bale free kick in the first half of the group match at the Euro’s he left his teammates to clean up his mess and even though Daniel Sturridge got a last minute winner, England fans were still anxious about putting him in the team for there final group game against Slovakia. However, Roy Hodgson gave Hart a chance and started him in what would turn out to be one of the dullest games of the whole tournament.
Hodgson then gave Hart the nod for the Round of 16 match against the mighty Iceland, the game that would send waves of embarrassment across the country. Hart was at fault for both goals having scuffed easy saves to help Iceland to a 2-1 victory. Hart received floods of abuse for throwing away his countries chance at silverware. Most three lions fans believed Hart would be on the bench if Jack Butland hadn’t been injured taking a goal kick against Germany just 3 months before.
So Hart returned to Manchester as the villain and it turned out he wasn’t going to stay there for long as Pep Guardiola shipped him off to the other side of Europe to guard the net for Torino in Serie A. But things didn’t get better for the former Birmingham City shot-stopper as him and his defense including future Chelsea defender Davide Zappacosta kept the worst defensive record in the Italian top flight and finishing ninth. And it seemed as if even the Italians didn’t see him as an incredible talent as the President of Juventus’ neighbours Urbano Cairo saying “We probably didn’t expect so many mistakes from an England international.”
Whereas back home his supposed replacement Claudio Bravo was making similar blunders to Hart leading to him being benched and Willie Caballero becoming City’s number one.
After returning home from Turin things went from bad to worse for Hart as Jack Butland regained full fitness and took the number one shirt for England and whilst Hart was away he wouldn’t have noticed his next obstacle towards retaining his spot in the England team as a 23-year-old Jordan Pickford was on the rise, the only positive out of Sunderland’s relegation season. And as the form of Tom Heaton and Fraser Forster was not even considered for training camps under new gaffer Gareth Southgate. Hart was then sent to London to join a West Ham side building up to what was believed to be an exciting season where they could push to ‘top 7’ with signings like Pablo Zabaleta, Javier Hernandez and Marco Arnautovic. But inconsistent form had seen them pick up 10 points from 14 games before Hart was dropped for Adrian in a hard-fought defeat at unbeaten Manchester City.
And with Hart being dropped for Saturday’s 1-0 win in the London derby against Chelsea, Russia 2018 seems a million miles away.
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featured image credit Sky Sports