Pre-match an­tics were too much, ad­mits Hart

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

ENG­LAND goal­keeper Joe Hart has con­sciously toned down his pre-match rou­tine af­ter crit­i­cism he was ex­ces­sively mo­ti­vated dur­ing his coun­try’s ill-fated Euro 2016 cam­paign, he con­fessed to re­porters yes­ter­day. Hart (right) was caught on cam­era thump­ing his ch­est and bel­low­ing at his team­mates in the tun­nel prior to games at Euro 2016, with for­mer Eng­land striker Ian Wright ac­cus­ing him of be­ing “too pumped up”. At fault for goals against Wales in the group phase and in Eng­land’s calami­tous last 16 de­feat by Ice­land, Hart was then frozen out at Manch­ester City and is re­build­ing his rep­u­ta­tion on loan at Torino. “I am al­ways try­ing to learn and adapt. Ob­vi­ously the Euros wasn’t my finest hour,” Hart said ahead of Eng­land’s friendly against Spain. “I needed to have a think about how I played and what I did, and maybe change a few things; speak­ing to the peo­ple that count, seek­ing ad­vice. “(In­terim Eng­land man­ager) Gareth (South­gate) and I spoke about it. You find a way. I’ve got a lot of en­ergy and a lot of pas­sion. Ques­tion­ably, it could have been too much. “There are ways of chan­nelling that. I am con­stantly evolv­ing, con­stantly try­ing to be the best I can be, and learn­ing from things that didn’t go too well is def­i­nitely a way of do­ing that.” Hart, 29, has be­come so pop­u­lar with Torino’s fans that a group of the club’s sup­port­ers trav­elled to Lon­don to watch him in Eng­land’s 3-0 win over Scot­land in World Cup qual­i­fy­ing last Fri­day.

The vic­tory over Scot­land pre­served Eng­land’s two-point lead at the top of UEFA qual­i­fy­ing Group F and is thought to have landed South­gate the job on a per­ma­nent ba­sis.

South­gate stepped in af­ter Sam Al­lardyce was brought down in a news­pa­per sting and will com­plete his ini­tial four-game re­mit in the game against Spain.

The match against Scot­land high­lighted South­gate’s wish for his de­fend­ers to play the ball out from the back.

The tac­tic caused some hairy mo­ments in both that game and the 0-0 draw away to Slove­nia that pre­ceded it, with mis­placed passes oblig­ing Hart to make two last-ditch saves in Ljubl­jana.

But de­spite the el­e­ment of risk, Hart is happy for his de­fen­sive col­leagues to in­vite pres­sure at the back, even if it might mean ex­tra work for him.

“The way we play and the way we build up does carry an el­e­ment of risk, but there’s a lot of ben­e­fits to it,” he said.

“And even when we did lose the ball in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions on Fri­day, the power and ath­leti­cism and de­sire to get back...

“If we didn’t have that, then maybe I’d be think­ing: ‘We need to be care­ful here.’ But I know peo­ple are go­ing to com­mit.”

Hart was phleg­matic when asked whether he still had a fu­ture at City un­der Pep Guardi­ola, the man­ager who froze him out.

“I’m just en­joy­ing my time in Torino. I’m a Torino player for this sea­son,” he said.

“I’ve got two years on my (City) con­tract af­ter this sea­son. It’s dif­fi­cult to look too far ahead of that and with­out pass­ing the buck, it’s not re­ally my re­spon­si­bil­ity to think about.

“The City fans have al­ways been fan­tas­tic to me and showed me a lot of sup­port and it’s a club I will al­ways hold dear to my heart.” – AFP

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