Joe Hart dropped for Norwich game
Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini set to call on Costel Pantilimon after Romanian impressed in league cup
Manchester City’s goalkeeper Joe Hart talks with Samir Nasri on the bench ahead of their English League Cup fourth round soccer match against Newcastle United at St James’ Park. Photograph: Nigel Roddis/Reuters
Joe Hart has been dropped by Manchester City for Premier League game against Norwich City but the goalkeeper is determined to win his place back and is not considering his future with the club, despite the decision potentially having consequences for the Englishman’s World Cup hopes next summer.
Manuel Pellegrini’s decision gives Costel Pantilimon the chance to establish himself as City’s first-choice goalkeeper, with it being understood that the Romanian may have otherwise made a formal transfer request in January.
Hart was informed that he would be dropped by Pellegrini after training at the Etihad, with the 26-year-old understood to be disappointed and at the same time appreciative of the manner in which the Chilean explained his decision.
This follows the issues Hart had with Pellegrini’s predecessor, Roberto Mancini, and his man-management style.
With Hart aware that this is a major season for club and country as England are also preparing for the summer tournament in Brazil, the goalkeeper is intent on rolling with the metaphorical punches.
Hart has paid the price for a catalogue of errors while Pantilimon impressed during City’s Capital One Cup win at Newcastle in midweek, keeping a clean sheet. Although Pellegrini refused to confirm who will start, Pantilimon trained behind the starting defence in the build-up to the game.
The manager remained coy when asked at Friday’s press conference which keeper he would pick: “Tomorrow you will know the XI that starts. It’s a decision I have to take every week.”
The England number one has been under intense pressure because of high-profile mistakes this season, the latest of which came in the loss at Chelsea last weekend.
Regarding whether Hart would have been disappointed to be dropped for the midweek win at Newcastle, the manager said: “You must ask Joe, I can’t answer for him how disappointed. All of you saw what happened (against Chelsea).”
Asked if he has to be careful with Hart because of his perceived fragile confidence, Pellegrini added: “I am very careful with all the players, not only Joe. I think tomorrow we will see what happens with Joe Hart. I don’t want to continue talking about Joe Hart. I don’t want to continue with Joe Hart because I have not told the players who will play. Tomorrow we will see and after I can answer your question.”
However, Pellegrini admitted he is concerned at points dropped due to defensive errors this campaign. “Yes, of course (we) are conscious about that. We lost at least four points away that we deserve more, but football has these things and we must recover those points. I think we are in a good way.”
Pellegrini added: “Every player of the squad has his right to play and I have to decide every week who will play. Maybe you ask Costel because he does not play too often, but I always see the players every day.”
Pantilimon would have contemplated his future had he not been selected to face Norwich as the Romanian believes he has been patient enough awaiting a chance and having now lost his place in his national squad, the 26-year-old wants regular first-team football.
City’s captain Vincent Kompany, who has a thigh injury, may not now be available until after the international break in three weeks’ time, Pellegrini added.