London (AFP) – Former England goalkeeper Joe Hart says it feels like he is “starting again” after signing for Tottenham Hotspur on a free transfer on Tuesday admitting he had had a “difficult couple of years.”
The 33-year-old signed a two-year contract with Spurs with the club reportedly agreeing to pay him £50,000 ($66,000) a week, the same as his wages in an unsuccessful spell with Burnley.
“We are delighted to announce the signing of Joe Hart on a contract until 2022,” read a Spurs statement on their website.
Hart will compete with Paulo Gazzaniga to sit on the bench — and get the nod for either League Cup or Europa League ties — as understudy to France’s World Cup winning goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, whose own form was far from consistent last season.
Hart reportedly excited interest form a variety of clubs ranging from newly-promoted Premier League side Leeds United to second tier Derby County and Scottish champions Celtic.
“There’s no getting away from it it’s been a difficult couple of years for me personally but I feel I’ve got so much to give,” he told the club’s website.
“I’m here to work as a team player, whether my name is on the team sheet or not it’s a squad effort.
“I know what it takes to win titles and change a squad’s dynamic for the better.
“I’ve got huge admiration for Hugo, one of the world’s greatest goalkeepers.
“I feel like I’m starting again, I quite enjoy that feeling. My body is certainly ready.”
Hart’s fall from grace has been dramatic — set in train by Pep Guardiola’s arrival as Manchester City manager on 2016.
Guardiola made clear Hart — who won two Premier League titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup with City — was not his type of goalkeeper and sent him on loan to Italian side Torino and then to West Ham.
Hart finally found a more permanent home with Burnley in 2018 but ended up as number two to Nick Pope last season.
Hart’s international career suffered accordingly and he was not selected for the 2018 World Cup squad.
He has not added to his 75 caps — which included appearances at two European Championships (2012/16) and the 2014 World Cup finals — since November 2017.
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