Manuel Pellegrini's England backing for Manchester City pair Joe Hart and James Milner

Joe Hart: 'Right decision' to rest England goalkeeper

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Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has backed Joe Hart to head to the World Cup in top condition.

Hart lost his club place in November after a series of blunders, with Costel Pantilimon taking over for a spell that included seven Premier League games.

The 26-year-old's England position too came under scrutiny as he watched his City team-mates from the sidelines but Pellegrini is sure national coach Roy Hodgson will reap the benefit of his mid-season rest.

The Chilean said: "For me it is very important Joe is the best performer in the national team for England, of course that's very important - and (for) Micah Richards, and (Joleon) Lescott, and every England player we have.

"I'm very pleased (we rested Hart) because I think we made the right decision at the right moment.

"It was very good for the team and it was very good for Joe Hart, for everyone.

"Joe Hart took it in a good way. He worked hard and came back to his normal (level of) performance."

With Theo Walcott almost certain to miss this summer's showpiece with a knee ligament injury, Pellegrini took the chance to talk up industrious midfielder James Milner.

"I can't tell Roy Hodgson which are the best choices if he cannot play Walcott, but Milner is a very useful player," he added.

"I trust a lot in him, I think he is a very good player."