Thursday, 11 August 2011

Player Review: Joe Hart

Joe Hart

D.O.B: 19/04/1987

Height: 6ft5

Position: Goalkeeper

Joined Club: May 2006 from Shrewsbury Town

Fee: £600,000 (rising to £1.5m)

Debut: October 2006 v Sheffield United

Joe Hart joined Manchester City in May 2006 whilst he was on international duty with England's U19 squad and has probably turned out to be the best £600k City have spent on a player. In the five years he's been at the club he's already seen 4 different managers. Hopefully there wont be many (if any) more for some time.

After making his debut shortly after his arrival (due to injuries to other goalkeepers) he was sent out on a month's loan to Tranmere in January and Blackpool in April.

Over the next 2 seasons (2007-08 and 2008-09) he made 49 appearances for City and was initially pushed out of the side by the arrival of Shay Given in January 2009. Later that year, at the start of 2009-10 season, with his chances of first team football curtailed by the presence of Shay Given, Joe went out on a season long loan to Birmingham City.

Hart greatly impressed during his time there making 36 appearances and despite making some errors, costing Birmingham goals, he was drawing many plaudits for his agility, shot stopping ability, and bravery. He was eventually voted Birmingham's Player of the Year, was a nominee for PFA Young Player of the Year and was included in England's World Cup 2010 squad, although he didn't feature during the tournament (which he is probably secretly pleased about after the debacle).

Since then he has established himself firmly as City's and England's number 1. His performance on the first day of the season against Spurs earned him performance of the season for City (you can see that here ). Throughout the season Joe continued to make some absolutely outstanding saves, earning himself the Premier League's Golden Glove award for most clean sheets. He also broke the club record for most clean sheets in a season which was previously held by fan favourite Nicky Weaver.
It's not just his performances that fans like about him, his attitude on the pitch is impeccable, always playing with a smile (other than when he's barking orders to his back four like a drill sergeant when defending free kicks) and having a joke with other players during breaks in play.
Questions have continued to be asked about his concentration at times during the season, however despite a couple of high profile mistakes he hasn't actually made any more mistakes than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League. Certain experts and pundits questioned his decision making when coming to collect crosses but he again has proved them wrong making very few actual mistakes.

One thing that does still need work is Joe's distribution of the ball. His punts outfield are quite regularly wayward, some end up being hurried due to him taking too much time on the ball when an opposing player is closing him down. Of course this doesn't happen all the time, but it happens more than City fans want to see. It is the only real flaw left in his game but at the age of 24 he is still very young in goalkeeping terms and we aren't likely to see the absolute best of him for another 5-7 years yet!

Joe is set for another 5 years at the club after having recently signed a new contract, something which City fans will be happy about. Hart also feels a great connection with the club after being here for 5 or so years already and said as much when talking to (click here for the interview).
Joe is undoubtedly one of the best goalkeepers in the Premiership (arguably the best) and has the potential to be one of the very best in the world by the time he reaches his peak. City fans will dearly hope they see his peak in City colours as he has become part of the fabric of the club and, well, he's deeeceeent.

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