Hart praises 'loyal guy' Southgate amid World Cup axe fears

Joe Hart is hoping Gareth Southgate opts for experience and grants him a place in the England squad for the World Cup finals in Russia.

England manager Gareth Southgate and goalkeeper Joe Hart   -  Getty Images

Joe Hart says England boss Gareth Southgate "seems like a loyal guy" but admits the number one shirt is up for grabs approaching the World Cup.

Hart is one of four goalkeepers in the Three Lions squad for the friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy over the next week but, arguably, is the man most at risk of missing out on a place in Russia after a poor season for West Ham.

The 30-year-old, on loan from Manchester City, started his first league game in over three months in the Hammers' last match - a 3-0 humbling by Burnley on March 10 - after initially being dropped following a string of poor displays.

But Hart is hoping the experience garnered over 75 caps will give him the edge over Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and newcomer Nick Pope.

"Since Gareth has been in charge he's always said I've performed really well for him," Hart told Sky Sports News.

"He seems like a loyal guy but the shirt is up for grabs. There's three goalkeeper places and there's some people performing well in the Premier League.

"Hopefully I've got my place back now and we'll see where we go with that.

"For now I'm just focused on this camp and being a part of a squad that I've been a big part of for a long time now."

Hart's performances for club and country over the past two years have led many to suggest his career at the top level may be over but the former Shrewsbury Town stopper is trying to ignore the criticism.

He added: "I'm not going to let that ever affect me.

"The position I'm in if you let confidence dip it's going to affect you badly.

"I'm me, I'm going to keep working hard, I've worked hard every day of my life and I'll continue to do that whether I'm playing or not."

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