Given backs Hart for England
Shot-stopper happy to battle it out for Eastlands number one jersey
Last Updated: April 10, 2010 2:54pm
Hart: England credentials
Manchester City goalkeeper Shay Given has backed Joe Hart to grab a place in England's World Cup squad.
Hart is on loan at Birmingham City this season after being ousted by Given as City's number one following the Republic of Ireland international's arrival from Newcastle in January last term.
But the 22-year-old has prospered at St Andrews and has earned rave reviews for his performances in the West Midlands which has seen Alex McLeish's side spend the majority of the campaign in the top half of the table.
Hart's impressive season has led to talk of a Three Lions berth at the South Africa finals and Given believes his fellow shot-stopper has earned a place in Fabio Capello's squad.
"Joe has done really well and deserves to be playing for England," he told the club's official website.
"If he keeps his form there's no reason he shouldn't play in the World Cup. That can only be good for City."
Manager Roberto Mancini plans to hold talks with Hart at the end of the season - and Given insists he has no problems scrapping for the starting spot.
"I wouldn't mind if Joe returns in the summer," said Given, who will not lock horns with Hart on Sunday as he is ineligible to face his parent club.
"I don't mind fighting it out - that happened for years at Newcastle, and I've had to fight for my place with Ireland.
"That is part and parcel of being with a top team - and I don't have any problem with that.
"Joe was the number one here when I signed and we worked really well together.
"The competition has been there since I joined.
"Just because Joe is at Birmingham doesn't mean I don't feel the competition from him. He is still a City player and is doing very well.
"There is pressure here not just from Joe, but from Stuart Taylor and Gunnar Nielsen as well.
"You know if you don't perform there is always a chance the club could bring someone else in.
"If you want a successful team, there has to be competition in every position."