Joe Hart's World Cup place under threat after West Ham benching, says Paul Merson

Last Updated: 09/12/17 1:35pm

Will Joe Hart start for England at the World Cup?
Will Joe Hart start for England at the World Cup?

Paul Merson thinks Joe Hart’s chances of playing at the World Cup are under major threat after he was dropped by West Ham against Chelsea.

David Moyes was forced into a change last weekend as Hart could not play against parent club Manchester City.

However, after Adrian impressed in the 2-1 defeat to City, Moyes decided to stick with the Spaniard against Chelsea on Saturday.

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Merson said on Soccer Saturday that Hart “will be worried now with the World Cup coming up”.

“With goalkeepers it’s very different to strikers,” Merson. “With strikers, if your replacement doesn’t score in three games you are probably back in, but with a goalkeeper you need them to make a major mistake to get back into the team. That could be his World Cup over. This is it.

“If Adrian has an absolute blinder for the next three months then Hart’s World Cup is out of the window. If he is playing in the team he goes to the World Cup, if not then I don’t see how he will play. He went to West Ham on the strength of the World Cup, not to win the league, but to play first-team football so he will be No 1 at the World Cup.”

Jamie Redknapp – speaking from the Sky Sports studio at the London Stadium – echoed Merson’s sentiments, saying: “From Joe’s point of view, when he came he thought ‘I am going to play this season and make sure I am No 1 for the World Cup’. At the moment you would have to say his position is under threat.

Highlights: Manchester City 2-1 West Ham

Highlights: Manchester City 2-1 West Ham

“That is a problem for the World Cup and what he wants. Joe has to find a way of getting back into the team otherwise he won’t be starting England’s first game at the World Cup, it’s as simple as that.”

Hart has established himself as England’s No 1 since making his debut in June 2008. However, he could face competition next summer from Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford and Fraser Forster.

Matt Le Tissier says the Manchester City match came at a bad time for Hart.

“Adrian knew it was going to be a one-off chance and he grabbed it with both hands and did exceptionally well and made David Moyes’ mind up for him,” he said.

“Hart has been having a tough time but Adrian has put himself in the manager’s mind at the right time with a terrific performance.”

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