Writer: Phil McLaggan
Date:Thursday April 8 2010
Phil McLaggan sent Vital Manchester City the following.
As Joe Hart gets ready to sit out this weekend's game against his parent club his Manchester City future is as up in the air as it was when he left for his stint at Birmingham.
As everybody knows, his spell at St Andrews has been a roaring success and manager, Alex McLeish has made no secret of his desire to keep hold of the young England goalkeeper. 'If I can't get Hart permanently, would I settle for another loan season.'
The praise does not stop there - more recently and after the draw with Liverpool at St Andrews on Sunday, McLeish claimed, 'At the moment Joe is sublime' and he continued with a hint at Hart's own mindset. 'Joe sees himself as a number one. It would devastate him if he had to sit on the bench next season.'
The last point is an intriguing one. If, as is quite possible and Hart does come back to CoMS, a return to being City's number one is highly unlikely. Yes, he has been an integral part of Birmingham's success this season, and yes he has kept nine clean sheets compared to Shay Given's 10 but City's number one shot-stopper has an extremely expensive assembled defence playing in front of him, unlike Brum.
Given is regarded as one of the best goalkeepers to have graced the Premier League and when he became available for a mere £8million, City could not refuse, and rightly so. It did, however freeze out one of the most talented young goalies around.
So where does the current situation leave Hart? He has surely played his way into Fabio Capello's World Cup squad, but as much as he has improved he's probably not quite as good as Given. The Republic of Ireland keeper can win points for his team single-handedly, but Hart's time will come. Whether it happens at the Eastlands is a different matter though.
The former Shrewsbury Town man has the talent to be the keeper that leads City into what will hopefully be one of our most successful periods - ever, but the feeling at Eastlands seems to be not quite yet. Given is still young in goalkeeper terms (33) so perhaps the best conclusion for all would be to delay the decision for a year and let him have another 12-months on loan at St Andrews.
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Date:Thursday April 8 2010
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