Roy Hodgson trusts Joe Hart to recover from his blip and prove doubters wrong

England manager will stick by No 1 for critical double-header despite 'concerns' over his form

Roy Hodgson has insisted that he has "every faith" in Joe Hart continuing as England's No 1 and challenged him to prove his doubters wrong in the decisive World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland.

Hart's long period of poor form continued on Wednesday night as he conceded two near-post goals against Bayern Munich at the Etihad Stadium. While Hodgson, announcing the latest England squad, admitted his goalkeeper's form was "a concern", he unambiguously ruled out the possibility of dropping Hart, and said that shaking off poor performances was a simple part of the job.

"Under a year ago, he was being described as the world's best goalkeeper," Hodgson said. "You don't go from that to someone who doesn't deserve a place in the team. It is a concern, of course. We'd love to be going into this game with all the players in form. But that's not the case. You have some players riding the crest of a wave and others less so. That's how it goes. I have to give them confidence and have confidence in them. They need to go out and perform."

Hodgson was certain Hart would be able to do just that in the two crucial games. "He's a self-confident individual, a lively character. Watching him walk off the pitch last night I'm pretty sure he was disappointed and saddened by a performance he might see himself could have been so much better. But as a goalkeeper if you can't overcome those periods, you can't be a top goalkeeper. He's done that in his career before.

"I believe Joe will shrug this off. I'm sure he's not happy with the criticism or the goals he thinks he should have stopped. This is a fact of life. He's never let me or the team down in my time here. I've every faith he'll have the confidence to put this behind him. Confidence improves with performances that give you rave reviews, not with criticism."

Although John Ruddy and Fraser Forster are also in the squad, neither of them can expect to start next week. "We need experience, players who are tried and tested, players who play regularly at the very top level," added Hodgson. "If you look at the goalkeepers we have with those criteria, he's clearly No 1.

"I'll be accused of being blind to a situation that has developed. I'm not blind. I do realise this is not a good moment for Joe. He's a proud man and a very good goalkeeper, so when he's criticised he's very unhappy. But I still believe in Joe Hart. I strongly believe he won't let England down and he'll play well."

Hodgson did admit that he was feeling as nervous as normal ahead of the two most important games of his tenure so far. "There's a nervous tension I feel before every game. As a player, you feel that. However well you prepare a game as a player or coach, things can still go wrong. You can't be involved at this level and not be nervous."

Hodgson would not be drawn on what would happen if England did not take six points from the two qualifiers, because he believes that they will. "The team, when we put out our best side, is a very good team. I'll have my fair share of sleepless nights [though] and hope that my centre-back doesn't fall over or the centre-forward slips up in front of an open goal."

Hodgson heads for BBC sofa

Roy Hodgson will appear on Match of the Day on Saturday. Hodgson and the show's host Gary Lineker were involved in a public disagreement over England's performance in Ukraine last month, which Lineker described as "awful" – prompting Hodgson to say he was "surprised" by the criticism. But Hodgson called Lineker soon afterwards and the issue was resolved.

England squad for qualifiers

For matches at Wembley against Montenegro next Friday and Poland on 15 October

Age/Caps

J Hart (Man City) 26/35

F Forster (Celtic) 25/0

J Ruddy (Norwich) 26/1

L Baines (Everton) 28/19

G Cahill (Chelsea) 27/18

A Cole (Chelsea) 32/105

P Jagielka (Everton) 31/21

P Jones (Man Utd) 21/8

C Smalling (Man Utd) 23/6

K Walker (Spurs) 23/8

R Barkley (Everton) 19/1

M Carrick (Man Utd) 32/29

T Cleverley (Man Utd) 24/11

S Gerrard (Liverpool) 33/105

F Lampard (Chelsea) 35/100

J Milner (Man City) 27/41

A Townsend (Spurs) 22/0

J Wilshere (Arsenal) 21/10

J Defoe (Spurs) 30/54

R Lambert (Southampton) 31/3

W Rooney (Man Utd) 27/84

D Sturridge (Liverpool) 24/6

D Welbeck (Man Utd) 22/18

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future