While Jermain Defoe took the goal-scoring honours on Friday night at the other end of the pitch Joe Hart was going a long way to establishing himself as England’s goalkeeper for the foreseeable future with another fine display.
Fabio Capello’s decision to opt for an experienced ‘keeper at the World Cup at the expense of Hart was one of the biggest blunders he made in South Africa. Hart was a bench warmer throughout the tournament but since then it appears that Capello has seen the error of his ways.
The former Shrewsbury man has now well truly established himself as number one for club and country and if all goes well this should be the case for many years to come. It makes a refreshing change for England who after the retirement of David Seaman have been craving somebody to take on the role as England’s long term ‘keeper.
David James, Paul Robinson and Robert Green have all threatened to make the position their own. But a general lack of form, or high profile mistakes have ultimately lead to their downfall. Now it is Hart’s chance to shine, and if he can fulfil his early promise, Capello may finally have found the answer to the position which has become the most debated spot in the England side.
Hart’s confidence is the key to his success. We must remember that at only 23 Hart is a baby in the goalkeeping world. But his commanding presence and immaculate performances demonstrate his confidence and portray a sense of stability that can only help build confidence in an England side which after the World Cup is understandably insecure.
The worry for Hart is that he succumbs to a Scott Carson like mistake. Carson was tipped to claim the England number one spot ahead of that infamous defeat to Croatia at Wembley. But ever since he failed to deal with Niko Kranjcar’s long range effort Carson has struggled to rebuild his career and only recently managed to fight his way back in to the England squad.
Should Hart make a similar error we may be searching for a keeper once more, but without meaning to jinx the former Shrewsbury Town man you just can’t see this happening, and even if it did you’d be backing Hart to bounce back a lot quicker then Carson.
To couple his obvious ability he appears to have a strong mentality, which for a ‘keeper is oh so vital and with him in goal the future of English football seems to have a securer base in which to build on.