Hodgson: I have every confidence in Hart

England boss Roy Hodgson has "every confidence" that Joe Hart will put his poor performance against Bayern Munich behind him.

Joe Hart

The Manchester City keeper was on Thursday named in the squad to face Montenegro and Poland the day after European champions Bayern claimed an easy 3-1 win at the Etihad Stadium.

Hart's handling of two of the successful strikes was called into question but, while Hodgson admitted it was fair to criticise the 26-year-old, he reminded reporters how mistakes had also been made in City's midfield.

Hodgson told Sky Sports News: "I think goalkeepers are always going to be in that situation. The goalkeeper who lets a goal in which people think he might have saved, I'm afraid these are the people in the firing line.

"They're very much in the firing line when it comes to criticism and to some extent it's a little bit easier to criticise the goalkeeper for what you think is a mistake when you could criticise the midfielder whose poor pass two or three moments earlier has provoked the goal chance in the first place.

"I believe that Joe will shrug this off, I'm sure that he's not happy with the criticism and he's not happy to have let in goals that he thinks he might have stopped.

"As far as I'm concerned he's never let me or the team down in the time I've been working with him.

"I have every confidence and every faith in him that he will have the confidence to put this behind him."

Hart kept clean sheets in England's previous qualifying games against Moldova and Ukraine.

Hodgson added: "One cannot deny that your confidence improves with performances that earn you rave reviews but unfortunately the performances that get you criticised don't help your performances...

"He kept clean sheets against Moldova and Ukraine. We've let in three goals in eight games so it'll take a lot more than one bad game for any player before I start suggesting that he is replaced by somebody.

"In these games we need experience, we need people who are tried and tested and play regularly at the top level."

Hart is joined in the squad by Norwich's John Ruddy and Fraser Forster of Celtic. The latter was unlucky to be on the losing side as Barcelona claimed a 1-0 Champions League victory in Glasgow this week.

But Hodgson will only blood the 25-year-old once England's qualification is assured as he keeps faith with the 35-time senior international Hart.

"If you look at the goalkeepers we have with those criteria, he (Hart) is clearly the number one," Hodgson added.

"We're pleased with Fraser, we think he's done really really well and I think he's got a great future.

"But certainly I think it will be a mistake to suggest that he should be given the responsibility of these two vitally important games.

"The players who have the most experience are the ones who have to make certain that they deserve it and that they are worthy of it in these two games.

"Then we'll see what Fraser can do.

"I've got great faith in Joe Hart and I've got no doubt in my mind that Joe will come through these games, will get us the results we need, and hopefully put one bad game behind him."

Elsewhere in the squad, Hodgson faces an anxious wait to see if Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is fit to return from injury.

Rooney was injured in training and missed United's 1-1 draw away to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Wednesday, but manager David Moyes expects him to be fit to face Sunderland on Saturday.

Hodgson said he was confident Rooney would be fit to join up with the squad.

"We are reliably informed that it's not a serious injury and it won't stop him joining up with us," he added.

Hodgson looks set to pair Rooney with Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge who also returns to the England set-up after injury.

Sturridge was previously absent from England duty with a thigh injury while Rooney's United team-mate Danny Welbeck was missing through suspension.

The England manager said he was looking forward to seeing Rooney play alongside Sturridge.

"I was thinking these two players are in great form.

"I'm happy that at the moment things are looking very good squad-wise.

"I'm very hopeful and very confident that these group of players, as long as they come through this weekend's games, they will take us there (to the World Cup finals in Brazil)."



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