Hart plays down captaincy claims

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart admits he is flattered to be linked with the vacant England captaincy, but believes there are more obvious choices for the role.

Football News: Joe Hart

For various reasons there are question marks over the first names on the list of potential replacements for John Terry, who was stripped of the role for a second time on Friday.

Hart's status as an automatic choice brings him into the frame should Fabio Capello want to avoid the potential for chopping and changing his captain from game to game.

However, the 24-year-old does not give the impression of being too interested, believing their are more suitable options.

"I am flattered to be linked with it but anyone who's having a consistent run in the England side is being linked with it," he said. "There are a lot stronger candidates than me.

"I don't have a view on who should be captain. As long as I'm playing I don't care.

"I have got a really important season with games for Manchester City and hopefully a couple for England coming up.

"That is all I am concentrating on at the moment."

Hart's straight-talking approach might ruffle a few feathers.

Despite his youth, the former Shrewsbury player is not scared to make his feelings known.

And after spending a rather uneventful evening trying to keep warm during City's 3-0 win over Fulham at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, he described the whole encounter as "horrendous".

"It was cold. We weren't great and they weren't great and the standard was horrendous," Hart said. "We have got it out of the way now and hopefully it won't happen again."

Nevertheless, City have now recorded 17 successive Premier League home wins, just two short of the record held by Manchester United.

Their latest success helped to stabilise a situation that had looked decidedly tricky after a run of just three wins in nine games.

Fulham's own record of one defeat in eight away games at City offered them hope, but it was snuffed out within half an hour after Sergio Aguero had converted a dubious penalty and Chris Baird turned Adam Johnson's low cross into his own net.

Aguero set up Edin Dzeko for City's third, capping a fine display that took him to 18 goals for his debut season in England.

The South American's overall contribution contrasts sharply with the behaviour of compatriot Carlos Tevez, who remains in Argentina but at least had the good sense to avoid playing in a testimonial for old friend Martin Palermo on Saturday night.

Typically though, Hart is demanding more.

"Sergio has done great, but he knows he can do better," Hart said. "When he starts taking all his chances he'll be winning the goalscoring awards by January.

"I'm not knocking him, he's awesome and one of the best players in the Premier League. But I really thinks he has a lot more to offer.

"He's younger than me, which shocks me. I hope he wants to do better because that will push Manchester City on."

Aguero and Dzeko have now contributed 34 goals to City's trophy quest this season, not bad for a pair whom it is claimed find it difficult to link together.

With Mario Balotelli completing his four-match suspension by missing next Sunday's trip to Aston Villa and Tevez no nearer being available, the duo are set to be called upon again as City look to put a poor sequence of away performances behind them.

Hart is likely to find himself with more to do, although after the rapid improvement over the past 18 months, that will not faze him.

"I wouldn't say I have surprised myself," he said. "I am proud of what's gone on so far but I don't get too lost from the main goal, which is winning games and winning the league. That is where my thoughts are.

"I feel great that I'm helping the team and it's nice that people have confidence in me. At the start of the season anyone could have gone in goal for Manchester City, it didn't require any ability.

"Hopefully, I'm repaying that confidence now."



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