Joe Hart’s position as England’s number one goalkeeper could be under threat with West Ham United manager David Moyes saying he is not an automatic choice in the club’s starting side.
Hart, capped 75 times for his country, was ineligible for West Ham’s trip to Premier League leaders Manchester City last weekend as part of the loan agreement between the clubs.
Spaniard Adrian replaced Hart and produced a series of fine saves as struggling West Ham went down 2-1.
While aware of the harm being dropped could do to Hart’s prospects of starting England’s first game in next year’s World Cup finals in Russia against Tunisia, Moyes says his only concern is what is best for West Ham.
“First of all, I would want to say that Adrian’s performance gives me a good problem because I’m looking for keen competition for places in this team. I don’t want anyone to feel they have a divine right to play,” Moyes said ahead of Saturday’s home match against Chelsea.
“I’m not going to reveal just at this moment which of them will be playing on Saturday. Talking generally, Adrian did well against City but Joe is an exceptional goalkeeper who has qualities which may go unnoticed, such as his communication, his influence in the dressing-room and his invaluable experience.
“I am also aware that he is England’s first-choice goalkeeper and there is a World Cup next summer but, as West Ham’s manager, I am only interested in winning matches and doing what is right for this club.”
Hart, on loan from Manchester City after a season playing in Serie A for Torino, has come in for criticism this season with West Ham having conceded 32 goals in 15 games – the worst record of the 20 Premier League clubs.
He has played in all of those games, barring Sunday’s visit to free-scoring Manchester City.
Hart remains England manager Gareth Southgate’s first choice keeper, however, and was in goal throughout the World Cup qualifying campaign in which England conceded only three goals in 10 matches.
Stoke City’s Jack Butland was given a start in the last game against Lithuania when England had already qualified as group winners.
Moyes said Hart and Adrian were both under pressure to perform.
“The competition is tight. When I came in, I was told that Adrian was chomping at the bit for his opportunity and that was always going to come, both in cup games and against City at the very least,” Moyes said.