Joe Hart's slide from England No.1 to the Championship in three years



Posted Friday, January 11, 2019 by Marca.com

Joe Hart's slide from England No.1 to the Championship in three years

The year of 2016 remains a hugely significant one for Manchester City, as it heralded the dawn of the Pep Guardiola era but also ushered out one of their great servants in Joe Hart.

Just three years later, the former England No.1 is on the verge of sliding into the Championship, the second tier of English football.

Before Guardiola's arrival, Hart had been the first-choice stopper at the Etihad for nine seasons and during that time he had lifted two Premier League titles and four golden glove awards.

As such, it came as a huge surprise when the former Barcelona coach immediately cast the England international aside without ever coaching him in a competitive match.

Hart was told he could leave the club and a loan deal with Torino was struck, much to the chagrin of supporters.

"Pep Guardiola was very clear with me, he gave me the option to decide my future," Hart explained on arrival in Italy.

Unfortunately for Guardiola, Claudio Bravo had a dreadful debut season in Manchester, making a number of mistakes which ultimately cost Manchester City a realistic tilt at the Premier League title.

It was only the arrival of Ederson, the archetypal modern goalkeeper, that has seen supporters stop clamouring for a Hart return, although the former Birmingham goalkeeper's fortunes have gone from bad to worse in the aforementioned time frame.

Torino didn't wish to make the loan deal permanent after he conceded 62 goals in 36 matches, so a further temporary stay at West Ham United followed where David Moyes decided the veteran wasn't good enough to be anything more than backup to Adrian.

It was such a decline in performance that saw Gareth Southgate elect to take Nick Pope, Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland taken to the World Cup in Russia.

Sean Dyche and Burnley then took him on a permanent transfer, with both Nick Pope and Tom Heaton facing long-term injury absences.

However, with Heaton having returned to the first team recently, Hart is no longer needed at Turf Moor, especially with Pope's rehabilitation nearing an end.

Preston North End, currently sitting 17th in the Championship, are close to securing a loan deal to sign Hart, a deal that would count as the third loan deal in three seasons for a player capped 75 times by his country.

At 31 years old, this is hugely surprising as goalkeepers often reach their peak later in their careers and stay around for longer.

Perhaps regular football at a lower level will do wonders for Hart's confidence and he may make a triumphant return to top level football.

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