Given has Hart for battle
Shay Given has warned young pretender Joe Hart he faces a fight for the No. 1 jersey at Manchester City.
Last Updated: 04/07/10 2:16pm
Manchester City keeper Shay Given has warned young pretender Joe Hart he faces a battle for the No. 1 jersey at Eastlands this term.
Hart has returned from an impressive season-long loan at Birmingham last term ready to challenge veteran Republic of Ireland ace Given's position as first choice at City.
But Given, who resumes full training on Monday after shoulder surgery, is confident he can remain Roberto Mancini's No. 1.
The 34-year-old told the Daily Star Sunday: "My aim is to be back fit and playing by the start of the season. Things are progressing well. I may have to miss one or two pre-season friendlies but I am not far away at all.
"Joe is a top young goalkeeper, a real talent and I saw what he could do before he left for Birmingham. But he's back now and it will be good to work with him again.
"He is one for the future and no doubt now that he is back at Manchester City he has big ambitions."
If Hart fails to take Given's No. 1 jersey, there is speculation he will want to jump ship to bolster his England chances after failing to feature behind first Robert Green and then David James at the World Cup.
But Hart is putting all transfer talk to one side, simply focusing on his career at Eastlands, where he has been since 2006, as well as his aim to become England's No. 1.
He said: "City are a club I have been at for a long time now and a club I think a lot of. I still have to wait and see how it works out there. But the decision on my future is not up to me. I'm just a player. It's not down to me at the end of the day. I'm contracted to City and that's where I'm going back to. That's the team I'm part of. It's as simple as that."
He added: "I intend to fight for the England No.1 jersey. That's all I want to do.
"I thought David James did great in South Africa and it's a shame it turned out how it did. We went out there to give our all and wanting to progress in the tournament but in the end it wasn't the case.
"We went to South Africa to do a job but unfortunately it didn't work out that way."
While Given is determined to remain No. 1 at Eastlands, he has backed calls for England boss Fabio Capello to go with youth and put Hart in for the Euro 2012 qualifiers.
"Putting Joe in for the qualifiers would make sense," he said.
"David James is almost 40 so by the time the next World Cup comes round he'll be 44. The chances of him playing in it would be small. Someone like Joe is the future for England."
Given also believes Hart may benefit from not playing at the World Cup as his confidence could have suffered if he had made a howler like Green did against USA, or like Scott Carson did in the failed Euro 2008 campaign against Croatia.
Given added: "If what happened to Green happened to Joe then it would have been him who was lambasted and perhaps he'd never have played again, very similar to what happened to Scott Carson a few years back."