Friday, December 21, 2007

Sven sweet on Hart

Sven-Goran Eriksson has revealed that Joe Hart will be the Manchester City number one for the foreseeable future.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's trip to Aston Villa, the Blues boss said: "“On Saturday Joe Hart will play and will be my number one for the foreseeable future.

“I have had talks with Andreas today and obviously he’s not very happy. I had to make a choice and for this moment I’ve made the choice in Joe Hart."

Rumours will surely start about Andreas Isaksson’s future at the Club and Eriksson admitted: "I don’t know if Andreas wants to leave or stay and fight for the place but I told him it’s very much up to him.

“I will not be surprised and I will understand it if he wants to leave.

"It was important and for the players to come up with this decision before the window opens in January."

Not really a surprise given the fact that Joe Hart was recalled to the to the starting line-up for the Carling Cup defeat against Tottenham and it does now seem - for the foreseeable future at least, that Hart is the no. 1 guy, having started the season as third choice.

Sven speculated that Isaksson may well indicate a desire to leave, and I have no doubt that he will do as he is amitious and wants first team football, something he has never managed on a consistent and long term basis since joining he club - both as a result of untimely injuries and an at times strange reluctance from both Sven and Stuart Pearce to back him.

Isaksson is a renowned international keeper with a good pedigree and reputation so I doubt that there will be a shortage of takers if Sven allows him to depart. Whether this means that Kaspar Schmeichel will be elevated to the back up spot or if a more veteran keeper will be added on a short term basis.

Both this season and last, I have long trumpeted the Isaksson cause, finding it baffling that he was constantly overlooked on a number of occasions. But in all honesty - from the games I have seen, the defence appears to be more at ease and relaxed with Hart in goal, than either with Schmeichel and Isaksson between the sticks. Statistically, there is not a great deal of difference between Hart and Isaksson but it is fair to obsever that Isaksson has not imposed himselfon the team as much as he perhaps may have done.

To cut him a little slack though, he has never had a settled run in the side and it may have played on his mind that neither Sven nor Pearce were 100% behind him.

Sven has always said that he would make his decision on who his guy will be at Christmas, and true to his word he has rotated all three keepers to give them opportunities. Despite how highly I do rate Isaksson, I can't disagree with the decision, and whilst Isaksson will now get a chance to resurrect his (still young) career elsewhere, Joe Hart has a golden opportunity to establish himself as the first choice keeper for many years to come, not to mention force himself into the international reckoning.

vote it up!

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