Numerous reports in the UK claim that Joe Hart has been left out of England’s 23-man squad for the 2018 World Cup this summer.
With Gareth Southgate expected to name his squad on Wednesday, news has arrived that Hart, 31, will not be going to his third-straight World Cup with the Three Lions.
Hart, who has 75 caps for England, has been their first-choice goalkeeper at each of the last three major tournaments but reports claim he has been told he won’t be going to Russia this summer.
The Manchester City goalkeeper has struggled out on loan at Torino and West Ham over the past two seasons after being ousted as soon as Pep Guardiola arrived to take charge of City.
Hart still has another 12 months to run on his current deal at the Etihad Stadium but he is not expected to return to City given the sensational form of Ederson in goal (who just signed a new seven-year contract), plus Claudio Bravo happy to be Ederson’s back-up.
Who will start in goal for England in Hart’s place?
Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford are the frontrunners, with perhaps Pickford edging ahead of Butland in recent months with his strong displays for Everton in the Premier League and his ability on the ball to start attacks in England’s fairly new 3-4-3 formation.
Butland has endured a season of struggle as he was relegated with Stoke but that’s not to say it will impact him if he starts for England this summer. Burnley’s Nick Pope is expected to be the third and final goalkeeper named in Southgate’s squad, with Southampton’s Alex McCarthy just missing out after a fine end to the season with Saints.
Back to Hart, this is another crushing blow for a goalkeeper who seemed assured of his England spot just 12 months ago. Yet the way in which his form has dipped since being told he was surplus to requirements at City is astonishing.
Several errors during his loan spell at West Ham this season saw him dropped for Adrian and it appears that unless Southgate leaves after this summer or there’s a dramatic upturn in Hart’s displays, his international career could well be over.
For a player who has won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups and four Golden Gloves for the most clean sheets in the PL, as well as having vast international experience, Hart is struggling to keep his career intact.