Thursday 15 Mar
Updated Thursday 15 Mar 14:10
First Team

Hart ready to fight for place after receiving England call-up

Joe Hart in training in Miami

 

Joe Hart has been named in England’s squad for two mouth-watering friendly international matches at the end of the month.

The West Ham United goalkeeper is one of 27 players selected to travel to Amsterdam to face the Netherlands on Friday 23 March before hosting Italy at Wembley Stadium four days later.

Capped 75 times since making his debut against Trinidad and Tobago in June 2008, Hart has travelled to the last four major tournaments with England and will hope to make it five at the FIFA World Cup finals in Russia this summer.

Every day is an audition when you go away with England

Joe Hart

“We’ve got some good games coming up,” said Hart, who has been working hard during the Hammers' training camp in Miami this week. “We want to go into them and learn as much about ourselves as we possibly can.

“We’ve done the hard task of qualifying for the World Cup, which many other teams found difficult, but I felt we handled it very professionally.

“Now, we’ve got games to test ourselves and really see where we are at, work on our strengths and work on our weaknesses.”

 

Joe Hart has been working hard at the Hammers' training camp in Miami this week
Joe Hart has been working hard at the Hammers' training camp in Miami this week

 

With the likes of Stoke City’s Jack Butland, Southampton’s Fraser Forster, Burnley’s Nick Pope and Everton’s Jordan Pickford also vying for Gareth Southgate’s attention, Hart knows he needs to maintain his form if he is to keep his starting place.

“Every day is an audition when you go away with England and it’s highly-publicised before each game, who is going to play and who isn’t.

“It’s interesting how it is working out at the moment, but I’m still in there fighting, trying to perform to my best levels, and that will never change.”

Hart, who is on a season-long loan from Manchester City, started nine of the Three Lions’ ten World Cup qualifiers, keeping seven clean sheets. In total, has 42 shutouts in 75 appearances for his country.

The 30-year-old is one of a number of West Ham players called-up for international duty, with Marko Arnautovic (Austria), Manuel Lanzini (Argentina), Declan Rice (Republic of Ireland) and Cheikhou Kouyate (Senegal) also set for action.