England keep faith with Hart, call up Saints trio

Thu Nov 7, 2013 10:21am EST
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By Mike Collett

LONDON (Reuters) - England manager Roy Hodgson backed goalkeeper Joe Hart to regain top form but will take the opportunity to look at understudies Fraser Forster or John Ruddy in this month's friendlies against Chile and Germany.

Hart, dropped by Manchester City after a series of mistakes, will start one of the World Cup warm-ups at Wembley stadium, with England hosting Chile on November 15 and Germany four days later.

Hodgson called up uncapped Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez for the first time, one of three Saints players in the 28-man squad along with fellow frontman Rickie Lambert, who has scored twice in three internationals, and winger Adam Lallana.

Hart has been left out of Manchester City's last two matches but Hodgson said he would only be worried by the situation if the 26-year-old was still out of the team and not playing regularly by next March or April.

"It is November. He made a mistake or possibly two mistakes. As a result of those mistakes the (Manchester City manager) Manuel Pellegrini has made his decision," Hodgson said on Thursday.

"I would be a lot more concerned if Joe Hart never got his place back and if in the spring of next year when I have to select the 23 players he was a constant reserve. But I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

"But he is such a good goalkeeper he will get back in the team."

Hodgson said preparations for next year's finals started now, and there was no time to celebrate getting there.   Continued...

Newly appointed England soccer manager Roy Hodgson poses for a photograph in the tunnel at Wembley Stadium in London May 1, 2012. REUTERS/Andy Couldridge/pool