Reina defends ‘top-class’ Hart

Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina has leapt to the defence of Joe Hart by insisting he is still "top-class" despite his acrimonious exit from Manchester City.

Reina, who spent nine years at Liverpool, says Hart is just as good with his feet – as per Pep Guardiola's requirements – with the only difference being that new arrival Claudio Bravo has spent years perfecting the role of "goal player".

"The game has changed so much for keepers because a lot of managers now expect us to be able to start play from the back as well as keep goals out," the Spaniard told the Joe website.

"I don't think we should be called goalkeepers any more because we are more like goal players.

"That is more the case if you are in a Guardiola team than if you are in any other and that's why he felt signing Claudio Bravo from Barcelona was so important to the way he wants City to play.

"I have seen people say that Hart isn't good with his feet but that isn't true. In terms of the speed and precision of his passes he is very good.

"The difference is that Bravo has been a goal player for many years and does not have to learn Guardiola's methods and that is why Hart was replaced. But he remains a top-class keeper. There is no question about that."

The England international is expected to make his Torino debut this weekend, and Reina expects him to do well.

"Every team plays its own way but I would say that after Napoli, last season Torino were one of the teams who play shortest; they liked to play from the back and that means the keeper has to be involved," he added.

"But they have changed managers with Sinisa Mihajlovic replacing Giampiero Ventura so maybe their style will become a little bit different.

"But however they play I wouldn't expect Hart to have too many problems because he has played at the top level for so long."

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