It was once said that you have to be mad to be a goalkeeper. One reason for that is because if you make a mistake, it’s probably going to be highlighted more than in any other position on the field, as it will likely result in a goal. It’s not uncommon for their confidence to be fragile and when hurt, they can collapse. Joe Hart is one who has come under recent criticism for his poor form, but how do we fix him before the World Cup in Brazil?
It’s not like many didn’t see this coming, there were signs of it towards the back-end of last season (Southampton away being the most obvious case that comes to mind) but it was hidden behind the fact that in the end City finished a reasonable amount behind eventual winners Manchester United. Now, after a few high-profile gaffs that have not only led to dropped points but losses has cost Hart his place in the side.
I’m not here to pin all the blame of City’s inconsistent start on the English number one, his defence has also had its problems which mainly involve absences of Vincent Kompany, but his lack of confidence is an alarm bell. He needed to be dropped, he needed the time to reflect on his form but it now needs to be decided when he should be re-introduced.
There was an issue with a goalkeeper in the other Manchester club not long ago, David De Gea had questions about his form early on in his career and was dropped for a month in favour of Anders Lindegaard. Since then, no one has questioned the Spaniard’s place in the side, his confidence restored and his talent on display for all to see.
This is where Manchester City have to be careful, because if he’s left out for too long it could crush Hart. We’ve seen England keepers in the past make one or two mistakes only to be banished for the rest of their careers so it’s reassuring that Roy Hodgson is sticking by him, underlined by a good performance against Germany, but he still needs that love from his club.
Now they’ve qualified for the knock-out stage of the Champions League, use him there and play him in the occasional league game, allow him to find his feet a little more and he’ll bounce back stronger than ever. There’s no doubting his ability but confidence is an incredibly fragile thing, especially when you’re under the big spotlight between the sticks.