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.
Final place: 20th with 31 points (relegated to Championship) Defining moment: Hiring Alan Pardew and then winning just one of their next 21 PL games. Biggest victory: Away at Manchester United 1-0 to not only keep their survival hopes alive for a few more games but also hand the PL title to Man City. Low point: A stretch of eight-straight defeats from February to March when all but ended any hope of survival. Star man: Venezuelan striker Salomon Rondon was a beast up top, scored 10 goals in all competitions and has a $25 million release clause in his contract so we will likely see him in the Premier League next season. Manager(s) marks out of 10: Tony Pulis (4/10), Alan Pardew (1/10), Darren Moore (7/10) Grade for the season: F
Final place: 19th with 33 points (relegated to Championship) Defining moment: The worst defensive record in the league, a 7-2 hammering at Man City underlined just how bad this Stoke defense was. Yes, they were playing City, but the way they were dismantled unearthed all of their issues. Biggest victory: Not many to choose from but it was probably the early season 1-0 win at home against Arsenal as Jese scored the winner. Man, that seems like a long time ago. Low point: They got ahead several times in games late in the campaign but couldn’t hold onto leads. Specifically the way they crumbled to lose at home to Palace, after leading, stands out. Jack Butland‘s tears will be the enduring image of a sad, sad season. Star man: There is no way Xherdan Shaqiri will still be at Stoke next season and a big World Cup for the Swiss winger should seal a move elsewhere in the PL or to a top club overseas. He had eight goals and seven assists but couldn’t drag the Potters to safety. Manager(s) marks out of 10: Mark Hughes (3/10), Paul Lambert (2/10) Grade for the season: F
Final place: 18th with 33 points (relegated to the Championship) Defining moment: Following their 4-1 win against West Ham, it seemed as though everyone at Swansea relaxed after their shocking start to the season. The Swans rose to 13th and everything was looking rosy. Biggest victory: Beating Liverpool at home in January was a huge boost and the Swans were in full flow at that point after Carvalhal’s arrival in late December. They beat Arsenal in the next home game and had a run of four wins in six as they looked almost safe from relegation… Low point: Losing at home to Southampton in the final week of the season. A draw would’ve probably done the trick but the Swans didn’t show up and all but sealed their fate by losing 1-0. Star man: Lukasz Fabianski was a machine in goal all season long as the Polish international was in tears on the final day once relegated had been confirmed. Manager(s) marks out of 10: Paul Clement (3/10), Carlos Carvalhal (5/10) Grade for the season: F
Final place: 17th with 36 points Defining moment: Beating Bournemouth at home with four games to go reignited hope they could save themselves from relegation. Mark Hughes had liftoff after being put in charge for the final eight games of the season as nobody really gave Saints a chance. Biggest victory: The win away at Swansea during the final week of the season in what had basically become a relegation playoff. Saints held their nerve and Manolo Gabbiadini‘s late strike all-but secured their safety. The relief on the face of Hughes and his players at the final whistle said it all. Low point: A run of just one win in 21 games under Mauricio Pellegrino as the club stuck with the Argentine coach as long as they could but the players just never responded to his defensive tactics. Star man: Alex McCarthy came in midway through the season to replace Fraser Forster in goal and didn’t put a foot wrong as he was crowned Southampton’s player of the season. Dusan Tadic was also big down the stretch with his two goals against Bournemouth crucial. Manager(s) marks out of 10: Mauricio Pellegrino (2/10), Mark Hughes (8/10) Grade for the season: D
Final place: 16th with 37 points Defining moment: Digging deep to draw 0-0 at both Manchester City and Chelsea in the final week of the season to secure their status in the Premier League. Remarkable resolve. Biggest victory: Beating Manchester United at home early in the season gave David Wagner‘s men plenty of belief that they belonged in the top-flight. Low point: A run of five-straight defeats in January and early February which saw them slump from midtable into the relegation zone. Star man: Jonas Lossl must get a shout out for his performances in goal, especially late in the season, but throughout the campaign Aaron Mooy was the man who made the Terriers tick. They missed him badly when he was out injured. Manager marks out of 10: David Wagner (9/10) Grade for the season: A
Brighton & Hove Albion
Final place: 15th with 40 points Defining moment: Three home wins on the spin in February and March which culminated by beating Arsenal. Chris Hughton‘s side were almost safe from that point on. Biggest victory: Beating Manchester United at home in the final week of the season to finally secure PL safety. Low point: Four defeats in five around November/December time which saw the Seagulls drop back into the relegation discussion. That was pretty much it. Star man:Pascal Gross had a fine season with the German playmaker scoring seven goals and added eight assists, while you have to applaud the defensive duo of Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk at the heart of the Seagulls defense. Manager marks out of 10: Chris Hughton (8/10) Grade for the season: B+
Jordan Ayew won a dangerous free kick early, but a 4th minute effort from 19 yards rammed into the wall.
Jordan then cued up his brother Andre inside the box, and he was defied by duel sliding tackles from Jan Bednarek and Wesley Hoedt. The ball bounded off the back of Hoedt’s arm, but (rightly) no penalty.
Swans had more of the ball, but Charlie Austin brought the next dangerous action with a break. The English striker couldn’t get enough on his shot, though, and Lukasz Fabianski collected the low drive.
Sam Clucas turned a header wide of goal in one of Swans’ best looks at an opener.
Austin was again stopped by Fabianski in the second half.
Bednarek had to be removed from the match when his goalkeeper, Alex McCarthy, punched a corner kick away and connected with the center back’s head.
Southampton broke through off a corner kick, with Austin again defied by Fabianski before Gabbiadini pushed the rebound home.
Everton’s Tom Davies scored in the fifth of four minutes of stoppage time to claim a 1-1 draw with Southampton on Saturday at Goodison Park.
Nathan Redmond‘s second half goal still pushed Saints out of the drop zone and into 17th place, level with Swans and two points behind Huddersfield. Southampton is away to Swansea on Tuesday (Watch live at 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
Southampton grab just their second win in last 22 games
Saints one point from safety with three games to go
Dusan Tadic was the hero as Southampton beat Bournemouth 2-1 at St Mary’s on Saturday in a huge win for Saints.
Tadic put Saints ahead but Josh King equalized for Bournemouth right on half time, but Tadic then won the game with a magical strike as Saints couldn’t finish Bournemouth off and had Alex McCarthy to thank for a stunning save late on.
With the win (their first at home since November and Mark Hughes’ first PL win in charge) Saints momentarily moved just one point behind Swansea who sit one place above them just out of the relegation zone. The Saints have 33 points, while Bournemouth have 38 points.
Southampton went ahead with a rapid counter attack as Mario Lemina broke, then fed Tadic to slot home as St Mary’s erupted. 1-0 to Saints.
The home side then took the game by the scuff of the neck.
Lemina’s rasping drive from distance was then tipped wide by Asmir Begovic and moments later Charlie Austin went down in the box under a challenge from Begovic but no penalty kick was given.
Nathan Ake then had a great chance to equalize for Bournemouth as he turned in the box but Alex McCarthy stopped well down low with his left leg.
Right on half time Bournemouth equalized as a corner from the right was flicked to the back post and King hooked home to stun St Mary’s. 1-1.
After the break Bournemouth did plenty of pressing as Lewis Cook‘s long-range effort was pushed away from McCarthy, but then Saints broke again in devastating fashion and regained the lead.
Tadic picked up the ball 40 yards out, ran towards goals and sent a powerful toe punt towards the far corner which flew past Begovic to make it 2-1.
Saints almost made it 3-1 when Tadic’s shot deflected off Austin and went goalwards but Begovic made a smart reaction stop, then Tadic played in Ryan Bertrand but his weak attempt was saved by Begovic and Austin then smashed into the side-netting.
The chances kept coming for Saints as Shane Long and Lemina combined but Bournemouth’s defense scrambled to clear the danger.