England boss Gareth Southgate insists Joe Hart’s omission from the 23-man World Cup squad does not necessarily signal the end of his international career.
The experienced goalkeeper has 75 caps for the Three Lions but has struggled for form at club level since leaving Manchester City for Torino and then West Ham.
Southgate opted to go for form over experience as he selected Everton‘s Jordan Pickford, Stoke’s Jack Butland and Burnley’s Nick Pope as his goalkeeping trio while Tom Heaton is on the standby list.
Gareth Southgate insists Joe Hart’s England career is not over despite World Cup omission
Hart, who has won 75 caps for his country, was not included as one of three goalkeepers
The England manager admits it was a ‘difficult call’ but he has picked players on their form
‘Of course it was a difficult call,’ Southgate accepted during his media conference on Thursday.
‘He took it very professionally, of course disappointed, as was Ryan Bertrand but both very professional. I know as a player that the disappointment is good to talk through in a few months time.
‘He played in most of our qualifying matches, he’s been a big part of the England team the last few years and he’s a valued member of the squad.
Jordan Pickford (L), Jack Butland and Nick Pope (right) have been selected ahead of Hart
Hart has struggled for form at West Ham and been in and out of the side under David Moyes
‘But in the end I’ve got to look at performances over the last 18 months with their clubs and the three lads we picked were the three best goalkeepers in the league this year.’
Asked about Hart’s future prospects, he added: ‘I pick players on form and if he’s playing well for his club, why wouldn’t we select him?
‘There’s no reason for this to be the end. He has an important career decision this summer and I hope he can be back at his very best.’