Hart: We got out of jail a bit

Joe Hart in action at Shrewsbury Town


Joe Hart admitted West Ham United were lucky to be in the hat for the Emirates FA Cup fourth round after being held to a goalless draw at his former club Shrewsbury Town.

The goalkeeper was arguably the Hammers’ best player at Montgomery Waters Meadow, marking his return home with a clean sheet and a number of smart pieces of work between the sticks – despite being blinded by a low sun before being handed a baseball cap by a generous member of the Claret and Blue Army.

Hart, who started for the first time since the Premier League defeat at Everton in late November, said West Ham will need to be much-improved if they are to see off the impressive Shrews at London Stadium in the replay, which will be played a week on Tuesday.

“We were terrible today and there is a feeling in the dressing room that we got out of jail a bit,” said Hart. “Shrewsbury were really good, they’ve been in a good run of form and it’s a tough place to come.

“We didn’t play well. We’ve had three games in a week, which is a lot of football for some of the lads, but there were some big opportunities for the likes of myself to get some game-time. We didn’t necessarily take them, but we’re still in the cup and we’ll see what happens in the replay.

“We can’t blame fatigue, but there was some terrible football played and we lost a lot of battles. It was a really tough cup tie and I think nil-nil is almost a fair result.”

They could see I was massively impeded so they got my attention and someone threw me their hat, so I’m grateful for that

Joe Hart

Joe Hart in action at Shrewsbury Town
Hart was handed the captain’s armband by manager David Moyes on his return to the club he represented 58 times as a teenager, before being handed a baseball cap by a quick-thinking West Ham fan.

“It was a nice touch to captain the side. This is my home town and it’s where I’m from. I went to school here, I’ve got lots of friends and family here and this club is the one who gave me my opportunity in football.

“It was very, very special and a nice moment to play here again, but during the game naturally I wanted to win. It’s over now, so to see a lot of familiar faces was very nice.

“I’m very grateful to the fans. We have a cap in the kit van, but Aaron Cresswell’s hair was so bad that he took it after the last game! He was rocking the Umbro cap so we didn’t have one available, but someone in the West Ham end very kindly lent me their hat, because I was blinded by the sun. I’d have taken any sort of hat or sunglasses as I couldn’t see a thing.

“They could see I was massively impeded so they got my attention and someone threw me their hat, so I’m grateful for that.”

Hart will almost certainly start the replay, with Adrian currently holding the No1 position in the Premier League, and the England international is hoping to stake another claim to regain his position at the top of the goalkeeping pecking order when the Shrews visit east London on 16 January.

“I face a battle to re-establish myself. We’ve had some good results recently and I’ve not been playing, so I’ve got to use days like this to try and stake my claim.

“The replay is going to be another tough game and hopefully we’ll have a few more bodies back as we had a lot of injuries and people who couldn’t make the trip, so hopefully we’ll have a stronger squad and advance to the next round.”