England news: 'That was my best game for a while,' admits Joe Hart after impressive Slovenia performance

The former Manchester City goalkeeper pulled off a number of excellent saves throughout the night to deny Slovenia their chances in front of goal

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The Independent Football

Joe Hart has stated his performance in England’s 0-0 draw against Slovenia on Tuesday night was his “best game for a while”.

The former Manchester City ‘keeper pulled off a number of fine saves throughout the night to deny the hosts in front of goal.

Hart put his body on the line for the national side and picked up an injury to his shoulder early in the second half after colliding with his inside post as he made a remarkable double goal-line save.

Speaking after the game, Hart said: “It was my best game for a while.

“I was asked to do quite a bit but that was down to a few errors by us. We are a young team and we will get better.

“It is a difficult result for us tonight but we have to look at the bigger picture of qualification. They had some chances and we have to give a lot of respect to them. It was an interesting game and we take 0-0.

“My body is in pieces. I don't know what happened for the save but I landed on the frame of the goal. I don't think I'll be able to get up in the morning.”

Hart’s England future looked to be in jeopardy after moving to Torino in the summer but Tuesday night’s performance will have helped cement his position as the national side’s No.1 goalkeeper. 

Manager Gareth Southgate praised the 29-year-old for his “outstanding” saves and “top class” quality in between the sticks.

“I had a long chat with him earlier in the week to ask him what he looks like at his best,” said Southgate.

“He started with 'calm and composed'. He's been that in the two matches we've had.

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Hart made an excellent double-save to deny Kurtic from a corner (Getty)

“His decision making has been excellent, the use of the ball with his feet has been very good, and two or three of his saves were absolutely outstanding tonight.

“He showed the level he's capable of. He was top, top class."

Although Hart may have enjoyed a memorable night in Slovenia, the rest of his side underperformed and struggled to create any clear cut chances for themselves.

And despite keeping a clean sheet, England’s backline looked worryingly vulnerable. Southgate admitted it was a difficult night for his players, saying: “We can play better, for sure. The opportunities they had were self-inflicted.

“That's an area that clearly needs to be better. On a difficult pitch our final ball could have been better. We had a couple of chances that, on another day, our forwards might have finished.

“We owe our goalkeeper for an outstanding performance. Would I have been happy with a point before the game? No. But it's a very important point in the context of qualifying from the group.”

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