Hart not guaranteed England place, says Hodgson

England manager Roy Hodgson has said Joe Hart cannot take being the national team’s first-choice goalkeeper for granted, the Daily Telegraph has reported, after the Manchester City custodian was criticised for his part in Scotland’s opening goal at Wembley on Wednesday.

Hodgson’s side rallied to win the match 3-2 after Hart failed to stop James Morrison’s tame effort, and Hart has only kept clean sheets against San Marino and Moldova since Euro 2012. Hart has been England’s No. 1 since 2010 but Hodgson rejected the suggestion Hart is unchallenged for the spot.

I would contest [the claim that] he doesn’t have competition,” Hodgson said. “Ben Foster is a good goalkeeper and now we have the experienced John Ruddy back as well. Jack Butland had nothing to do [in the under-21s’ 6-0 defeat of Scotland at Bramall Lane] but he has talent as well. We might not have 20 but we have a good four or five.

Hodgson added that Hart’s place was not under threat for England’s next fixture, however, just that if he felt the need to make a change – which Hodgson stressed he would not decide to do lightly – there are alternatives to take the gloves. “I wouldn’t leave [Hart] out of the next game because he made that mistake,” Hodgson said. “Like everyone else, the competition for places is getting stronger.

I hope I’m not going to be the type of guy who chops and changes at every mistake. I’ll be watching him closely in the coming games and hopefully he’ll produce a few wonder games for City,” the former West Brom boss continued. Hodgson added that Hart had taken responsibility for the goal at half-time, and apologised for not handling Morrison’s shot better.

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