Joe Hart hopes that a season as Manchester City’s number one will help him cement a place in Fabio Capello’s starting XI for England’s Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.
The 23-year-old made his first start for his country in last night’s 2-1 friendly win over Hungary at Wembley.
Hart had been tipped for a starting place at the World Cup after a couple of impressive appearances in England’s warm-up games and an excellent season on loan at Birmingham.
But despite worries over the competence of rivals Robert Green and David James, the Shrewsbury-born stopper had to settle for a place on the substitutes’ bench in South Africa.
Hart returned to Eastlands this summer to challenge City number one Shay Given of the Republic of Ireland after his successful spell at St Andrew’s.
He admits any hopes of him holding onto the gloves with England will depend on persuading Roberto Mancini to play him on a regular basis for City.
“It was nice to get the start but a few goalkeepers weren’t involved in the squad so I’m going to have to keep my head down and play well at club level,” he said.
“It’s going to be a huge challenge to stay as England number one. I can’t take anything for granted.
“It will be very important that I’m playing regularly at City but we’ll just have to wait and see who the manager picks on Saturday (for City’s game against Tottenham).
“I have to be confident that I will start. I really want to play and I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully the manager will pick me.”
Hart was unfortunate not to end his first start with a clean sheet after Phil Jagielka’s own goal appeared not to cross the line in England’s 2-1 win, which was the Three Lions’ first match since being knocked out of the World Cup with an embarrassing 4-1 second-round defeat to Germany.
“I don’t know what went on really,” he continued.
“When the shot went past me I thought it was safe then Jags got a knock on it and I thought Michael Dawson had managed to save it but the referee gave the goal.
“I didn’t check any of the replays but I heard after the game that the whole of the ball didn’t cross the line which is a shame, but what can you do?”