Hart back to his best, says Man City teammate Richards

Micah Richards believes Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart has put his early season struggles behind him to return to his best form, ESPN has reported.

Hart was dropped by City manager Manuel Pellegrini after a series of errors culminated in a mistake that gifted Chelsea three points when the sides met in late October, with Costel Pantilimon taking the gloves instead.

But Hart returned to the starting XI against Viktoria Plzen in midweek in a Champions League dead rubber that the already-qualified City won 4-2. Despite conceding twice, Hart made a number of smart saves to keep City in with a chance of leapfrogging Bayern Munich and topping the group.

Richards feels that Hart’s performance is a sign that he has gotten over the troubled period of a month ago. “In my opinion, he is back to his best,” he said. “Obviously, as a player you go through difficult times – but the best always rise to the top and he is top three in the world and definitely the best in England, that’s for sure.

I am his biggest fan,” Richards continued. “He went away on international duty and played a very good game there. [Against Plzen] I thought he was very good again. So his confidence is building back.

Richards praised the performances of Pantilimon but added that Hart is in a situation alien to most goalkeepers. “Every keeper makes mistakes,” Richards noted. “When you are England’s No. 1, it is a lot harder than normal.

The people who he is up against, Ruddy and Forster, are top keepers, but when you are playing for Manchester City and are England’s No. 1, it is added, extra pressure. He can’t make the mistakes they can make and get away with them.

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