England manager gives Joe Hart his unequivocal support ahead of crunch month
says he has absolute faith in Joe Hart
and is confident the England goalkeeper will recover strongly from a recent blip in form.
Speaking at Tuesday’s squad announcement
, the England manager said the long-term form Hart has shown for both club and country means he is in no immediate danger of losing his place as England’s number one.
He said: “It would take more than a couple of games before we lose faith in a guy who’s proved himself to be England’s number one over a long period.
“I’m hoping that Joe will use the England time together now to get his confidence restored, he’ll be working with people who believe in him that’s for sure.”
Hart came under criticism from some quarters for failing to prevent James Morrison’s shot from squirming under him for the opening goal in the recent friendly against Scotland
The 26-year-old stopper also conceded a soft goal in Manchester City's weekend defeat at Cardiff City, but Hodgson insists the errors are simply a dip in form, experienced by all footballers, and one that Hart will recover and become a better player from.
“I will be vociferous in my support for him because I feel he deserves it,” he added.
“I do believe in Joe Hart, I do think he’s a very fine goalkeeper and he has two fantastic opportunities, barring in injury to prove that against Moldova and Ukraine. I believe he’ll come out of it with flying colours.
“We care for him, and we believe in him. We continue to show our support and manifest our support. I’m expecting him to come to us as enthusiastic and as confident as he always does.”
Hodgson sprung a surprise or two when he named his squad to face Moldova and Ukraine on Tuesday afternoon, including Ross Barkley and Andros Townsend in the senior squad for the first time.
But Hodgson warned the newcomers they still have a lot to do to break into the first team.
He said: "I have a pretty good idea of what my starting eleven is because I’ve been building up to it. There are players in there now that have come onto the scene fairly late that will have to work very hard to come into that starting eleven and I’m sure they understand that, they don’t need to be told.
"We’ve got a good time together, and it’s a useful time for me to be able to see these players because after these two game there’ll be two more and hopefully plenty more after that."
Recent results between England Group H rivals have left the competitions for the all important top two places fierce, and Hodgson finished by saying it is important the Three Lions focus on their own performance, and the rest will take care of itself.
"People were suggesting it was just for us to get above Montenegro, now there’s Montenegro, Ukraine, England and Poland aren’t out of it yet. Poland play both Montenegro and Ukraine, if they get results against those two it gets tighter even still," he added.
"So it’s going to be a tight affair, but it’s four games, four games, four performances, four matches to win; you don’t change that dynamic. And no end speculating about what could happen
doesn't change the fact that the best way for us to ensure qualification is to play well in four games and get the results."