Hart back for England

2013-11-18 19:03
Joe Hart (Getty Images)

London - Under-fire goalkeeper Joe Hart was recalled by Roy Hodgson when the England manager announced his team to play fellow 2014 World Cup qualifiers Germany in an international friendly at Wembley on Tuesday.

Hart has lost his place at Premier League big-spenders Manchester City to Costel Pantilimon following several high-profile errors this term.

He didn't feature in the team beaten 2-0 by Chile in a friendly at Wembley on Friday, with Hodgson opting to give Celtic's Fraser Forster an England debut instead.

However, Hodgson has always insisted the 26-year-old Hart remains his first-choice keeper and, after taking the unusual step of naming his side more than 24 hours in advance, the manager told a news conference on Monday: "I'm sure he'll respond very well.

"It's not my business, his club football career and he's a proud man, he's very pleased to be playing for England and he's done well for us.

"We've had no cause to doubt him during these very important World Cup games we've had.

"In 14 games, we're unbeaten and he's only let in seven or eight goals in those 14 and I think he's entitled to feel confident to pull on the England jersey.

"We're all all behind him, we all think he's a very good goalkeeper and we expect him to play well tomorrow (Tuesday) night."

Hodgson made nine changes to the side that kicked-off against Chile, with Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana, who made his debut on Friday, and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney the two survivors.

There were concerns over the fitness of Daniel Sturridge, brought back to partner Rooney, after he left training on Monday in the company of England physiotherapist Steve Kemp.

But Hodgson insisted the Liverpool forward was fit, saying: "He's fine. Last week he obviously couldn't take much part in training but his injury, which he brought with him from his club, is improving all the time.

"The reason he came off after two sectors -- if you like -- of the game we were playing this morning, was to give Rickie Lambert a chance also playing at centre-forward because we want to see him play tomorrow (Tuesday) night as well as Daniel Sturridge."

England skipper Steven Gerrard, set to equal the 108 international appearance of Bobby Moore, England's captain when they beat the then West Germany in the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley, returns to midfield after missing the Chile match through injury.

"I'm very proud," said Gerrard. "We are talking about a World Cup winner and an iconic figure. He was a hero to everyone in the country and to equal his record is a fantastic achievement."

Tuesday's match will be the first time the teams have met since Germany knocked England out of the 2010 World Cup with a 4-1 win in South Africa, a match where England midfielder Frank Lampard's incorrectly disallowed equaliser sparked calls for the introduction of goal-line technology.

"Every time you play them (Germany) you want to win the game," said Gerrard.

"I don't think it is about revenge or putting right what went wrong. We want to try and build on recent performances."

Hodgson has also recalled fit-again Tottenham Hotspur defender Kyle Walker.

England's final match of the year also has added meaning to Hodgson, who was approached by the German FA over the manager's job in 1998.

Hodgson's stock was high after he masterminded Switzerland's qualification for the 1994 World Cup and the 1996 European Championships.

He spoke to Egidius Braun, the German Football Association (DFB) president at the time, but Erich Ribbeck was eventually appointed to replace Berti Vogts.

"It was a nice approach and a very flattering one," Hodgson added.

"It was a long time ago and I think they have certainly done pretty well without me."

England team to play Germany:

Joe Hart; Kyle Walker, Chris Smalling, Phil Jagielka, Ashley Cole; Adam Lallana, Steven Gerrard (capt), Tom Cleverley, Andros Townsend; Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge

Read more on:    joe hart  |  soccer


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