England's Hart says he's his 'strongest critic'
England goalkeeper Joe Hart reacted Tuesday to an inconsistent season with Premier League champions Manchester City by insisting he was his “strongest critic”.
However, he added there was no point “burying himself” and that he was looking forward to contesting the England No 1 jersey with Ben Foster after the West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper ended a two-year exile from international football by agreeing to be selected in the squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers with San Marino and Montenegro.
The 25-year-old Hart has come under fire this term following some high-profile errors in contrast to the widespread praise he received last season when starring for City in their Premier League title-winning campaign and for England at Euro 2012.
“My season has not been brilliant,” Hart said Wednesday. “It’s had its good times but it’s football. It’s what I love doing.
“I’ve enjoyed it, it’s been tough, things haven’t always gone my way. I’m enjoying the fight and getting back in there.
“I understand you have your great nights and sometimes things don’t go the way you want. That’s the way it is.
“I’m my strongest critic but I would never bury myself. It’s pretty obvious when you make a mistake as a keeper, you don’t need to dwell on it too long. It’s out there.”
As for the return of Foster to the England set-up, Hart added: “It’s great to see Ben. He is a consistent performer, someone I get on well with, when we train and to play against,” said Hart.
“Is Foster good enough to push me? Yes, but I’ve felt that every time I’ve come away with England.”
But having had a taste of tournament football with England, Hart is eager for more of the same.
“I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do, I love it, I’ll keep working and training hard if there are no ‘keepers or 1,000 ‘keepers.
“That number one spot is one I want to keep and last summer (Euro 2012) was a real high point in my career.
“It was one of the best footballing things I’ve done. To play in a tournament like that is a dream.”
England, second in European qualifying zone Group H for Brazil 2014 behind Montenegro, whom they face on Tuesday, will be overwhelming favourites to beat bottom of the table San Marino on Friday.
The makeweights famously embarrassed England by scoring after just eight seconds in a World Cup qualifier back in 1993, albeit England won the match 7-1.
However, England failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup finals in the United States and Hart is keen history does not repeat itself.
“I just checked up on them to see if San Marino have scored a goal recently but they haven’t. Someone is going to concede against them and hopefully, if I’m playing, it won’t be me.
“But the main focus is to win. If they score, hopefully we score more and it’s more important, the position in the group, rather than looking silly.”