Thursday, 2 June 2011

Joe Hart: Manchester City with the big boys now

Joe Hart faces the media on Thursday Joe Hart faces the media on Thursday
Joe Hart reckons Manchester City have finally joined the "big boys" after qualifying for the Champions League group stages.

Hart was one of the Blues' outstanding performers in a campaign in which they secured automatic Champions League qualification by finishing third in the Barclays Premier League and won the FA Cup.

Never short of self-belief to start with, it has provided the former Shrewsbury man with another confidence boost, in addition to offering an opportunity to perform at an even higher level.

"What has happened at Manchester City has given me a lot of confidence," he said.

"We have achieved some fantastic things this season. We know what a tough task it will be to follow that.

"But the thing is, we could have achieved more, which just makes it more exciting for next season."

Having, for long periods, assumed they were heading for a place in the Champions League qualifiers at best, it came as a very pleasant surprise to squeeze Arsenal out of third spot to secure a direct route into the last 32.

City's seeding means Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan are among those who lie in wait. And Hart is relishing the test.

"I can't wait to find out how much the Champions League will improve me," he said.

"Getting it nailed on as well, rather than going into the qualifiers, is great.

"We can really prepare for it properly now.

"It will be a big test for us. It really is big boys' football."

In the more immediate future, Hart is gearing up for England's forthcoming Euro 2012 qualifier.

The Blues ace is in line to face Switzerland at Wembley on Saturday, but he will not be backed up by Ben Foster. The Birmingham number one has decided to take a sabbatical to concentrate on his club career, having decided trying to oust 24-year-old Hart is not worth the effort.

Paul Robinson has also retired and Robert Green was left out of Fabio Capello's current squad amid doubts over his commitment to the national team, only to be called back when it was established that Fulham's David Stockdale was due to get married.

Hart wanted to make it plain he was offering no opinion on the reasons for, or the wisdom of, Foster's decision. However, he could not see himself abandoning England.

"I can't envisage wanting to take a break," he said.

"Who knows what is in the future? Other people make decisions based on personal reasons. I can only concentrate on myself and being available for these kind of trips.

"Right now I am really happy to be here and trying to get that number one spot."

No comments:

Post a Comment