Joe Hart should be part of England’s squad for this summer’s World Cup according to former Three Lions goalkeeper Paul Robinson.
Despite playing all but one of England’s qualifying fixtures, Hart has been usurped by Everton’s Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland, the Stoke goalkeeper, since the Three Lions booked their place in Russia; the 31-year-old has played just one of England’s last five matches.
His form at club level has been below par throughout the campaign, but he was still expected to be selected by Southgate as Hart, with 75 caps, is one of the most experienced players still eligible to be called up to represent England.
And Robinson believes he should be selected, as neither Butland nor Pickford have played football at a senior international tournament.
Speaking to the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, Robinson, who won 41 caps for England, said: “For me, with 75 caps for England and the experience he’s got, if I was picking the squad he would go.
“When you look at the inexperience of the other two you are going to take, if you’re taking [Jordan] Pickford and [Jack] Butland… Yes they’ve been all the way through the England system and yes they’ve played tournament football, but they’re not used to playing for England at the top level.
“So with a three like that, me personally, I would put an experienced goalkeeper in there.
“But you have to have the right one. If Gareth spoke to Joe and said ‘this is your role, this is the number three role’, he might have turned round and said ‘you know what, I don’t fancy that – that’s not for me’.
“You have to have to have the right kind of experienced played in that role. But for me, if he was ready, I would take him.”
Hart’s career has nosedived since Pep Guardiola’s appointment as Manchester City manager.
The keeper has been loaned out by City in the two seasons the Catalan has spent at the Etihad, and Robinson believes Guardiola’s treatment of Hart is the reason for his recent struggles.
“I think he has [lost self-belief],” Robinson added. “I went through that in my career as well.
“I had the same at Tottenham; Juande Ramos came in and had pre-empted ideas about me and he didn’t want me around. As a goalkeeper you like to feel you’re the No1, you like to feel the confidence that that is your role in the team.
“I know Joe is like that, and he had to go out on loan and look for other options, and being left out at Manchester City will have hurt him – without a shadow of a doubt it will have hurt him.”