Ever since England’s disastrous exit from Euro 2016, a tournament in which Roy Hodgson’s once proud Three Lions hardly covered themselves in glory, life has become all the more troublesome and problematic for 30-year-old shot-stopper – Joe Hart.
Now, with his sights fervently locked upon the prospect of playing for England at the 2018 World Cup in Russia this summer, Hart continues to stare down the barrel with a whole host of ardent critics and spectators scrutinizing his every move.
Sorry but how on Earth is Joe Hart still England’s number 1 when he can’t even get in the West Ham team in front of Adrian… #MOTD
— George Poole (@GeorgePuddle) December 26, 2017
He currently finds himself warming the Hammers bench down at the London Stadium, thanks to the improved fortunes of West Ham’s Adrian in between the posts for David Moyes’ side.
With the January transfer window fast approaching on the horizon, and his former reputation as England’s very best shot-stopper fading ever further with every passing week of Premier League action, we are left to question what fate really has in store for Joe Hart.
Is this the beginning of the end of Hart’s top-flight future among the Premier League, or is the former England favourite destined to bounce back in exceptional circumstances, with the thought of reclaiming that prestigious Three Lions no. 1 jersey held firmly in his mind?
Feel sorry for Joe Hart. Bloke was one of best in the world a few years back. Now getting rinsed by every Tom, Dick and Harry. I'm all for starting Adrian 100%, but jumping on the band wagon and abusing Hart is just sad.
— Iron in the Blood (@WestHamBlood) December 19, 2017
Pep Guardiola’s recent introduction at Manchester City spelt promising news for almost every single individual and collective personality associated with the club, excluding Joe Hart of course.
The former England no. 1 was immediately sent packing from the Etihad as soon as Guardiola first showed his face in Manchester. Hart had failed dramatically throughout the course of Euro 2016, contributing heavily to England’s surprise loss to Iceland among the opening knock-out phase.
The now 30-year-old was considered too cumbersome with his feet to be relied upon at the back. He seemed to lack composure and the ability to command his back-four, whilst his last-ditch decision making left much to be desired.
Joe Hart was swiftly replaced by Chile’s Claudio Bravo at the Etihad. Although the ex-Barcelona shot-stopper hardly fared any better than his much maligned predecessor with all things fairly considered, Hart would subsequently struggle to reassert his former dominance for quite some time to come.
In the eyes of most, his recent spell amid the Italian Serie A with Torino proved nothing short of an ill-judged debacle. He conceded countless goals whilst plying his trade in Italy, seemingly failing to recover from the previous array of setbacks encountered at Euro 2016.
From there, it seemed his life among the Premier League had all but reached a swift and rather unceremonious conclusion, until West Ham eventually came a-callin’ over the summer with the hope of restoring Joe Hart’s former greatness among the English top-flight.
Really like Joe Hart, he seems like a good character & his experience at the top is unquestionable.
Something does not seem right with him though, especially when he comes charging out with no real conviction of winning the ball.
Adrian can sleep easy until Saturday.
— Weѕt Hαm Sociαl (@WestHamSocial) December 19, 2017
As we can subsequently tell by the current Premier League standings however, such an eventuality has totally failed to materialize. West Ham have conceded one of the highest totals of goals among the English top-flight this season, thanks to a whole host of issues deriving from both on and off the pitch.
Joe Hart has been rather unlucky in many ways. He was forced to play under the turmoil and confusion of Slaven Bilic’s less than successful latter days at the club, whilst the defence ahead of him failed to provide adequate cover and protection on more than just the odd occasion. Then again, Hart himself has looked far from his previous best at West Ham.
Since missing out when the Hammers travelled to the Etihad earlier on this season, due to his predetermined ineligibility to play against his parent club, Adrian has stepped in and completely reclaimed his position as West Ham’s first choice keeper.
Adrian is better than Joe Hart. This is a fact of life. Just like how we all end up dead eventually. There is no arguing it. Adrian > Hart
— West Ham Stuff (@WestHamStuff) December 23, 2017
Barring some of their most recent performances, West Ham have looked all the more composed and compact as a result of Adrian’s compelling reintroduction, with David Moyes now seeming content on keeping faith in the determined Spaniard.
With his upcoming World Cup ambitions sincerely jeopardized as a result of several emerging contenders each looking to claim that illustrious no. 1 shirt as their own, Joe Hart has been left with little choice but to move on in the quest for first-team football this winter.
Either the 30-year-old opts to terminate his loan deal at the London Stadium at the first available opportunity, or his dreams of leading England out at the 2018 World Cup in Russia will remain nothing more than a thin, distant fantasy.