For virtually the first time since he was installed as first choice keeper following the 2010 World Cup, major questions are being asked of Hart.
The Manchester City man was criticised for his performance in England's win over Scotland earlier this month and was blamed for two of Cardiff's goals in their shock 3-2 win over Manuel Pellegrini's men on Sunday.
Yet Hodgson remains solidly behind Hart.
"I would defend him," he said.
"It would take more than a couple of games before we lost faith in a guy who has been number one over a long period.
"In top teams like Manchester City, goalkeepers don't have a lot to do. Every time they make a mistake it's highlighted.
"I have every faith in Joe Hart. When I took the job I thought I had a top class goalkeeper and 16 months later feel I still have a top class goalkeeper."
Everton's Ross Barkley and Andros Townsend of Tottenham have been called up for the first time, whilst Liverpool's Raheem Sterling has been handed a recall after making his England bow in Sweden last November.
Rickie Lambert has also kept his place after scoring with his first touch against the Scots to complete a remarkable rise from lower league journeyman to international star.
Sixteen of the expanded 27-man squad could be required to play on Sunday, when Liverpool entertain Manchester United and Arsenal tackle Tottenham in the north London derby in a Sky Super Sunday Premier League double-header which got the Football Association in such a vexed state when the domestic fixtures were announced in June.
Hodgson admits the timing of those key encounters could have been better, although he is sanguine about the impact.
"What you can't change you accept," he said.
It does appear the same is also true of Wayne Rooney and his position at Manchester United.
Although Rooney remains unhappy with life at Old Trafford, it has been established he will not be handing in a formal transfer request.
And if his display against Chelsea last night is any guide, Rooney intends to carry on playing to his maximum potential.
"I couldn't give guarantees but if you say 'do you think he will respond the way he has done' I would say yes," said Hodgson.
"Wayne is mentality is strong. There's no question of that.
"There are people who know him a lot better than me but judging from the time I have spent working with him he is a strong character.
"He is an out-and-out footballer. He loves the field. He loves to play. First on, last off. You drag him from the field.
"He is the type of player you have to tell not to kick quite so many balls because we have a game tomorrow."