Joe Hart says he is ‘gutted’ after not being selected for England’s World Cup squad.
The goalkeeper has been left out of the 23-man group for the finals in Russia by national team boss Gareth Southgate, with Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope his preferred goalkeepers.
Hart was one of England’s key players in qualifying.
He played every minute in nine of England’s ten qualifiers as the team secured their place in Russia, with Butland starting the final match against Lithuania.
But after falling out of favour at club level, with first Manchester City and then on-loan club West Ham, he now finds himself out of the team for the first time since making his Three Lions debut in 2008.
And the 31-year-old says his omission has been ‘hard to take’.
He wrote on Instagram: “Not going to lie, I’m gutted.
“After two years of trying to make the most of a really tough situation, this is hard to take.
“I’m proud to have put in the graft and play every minute to qualify with the team and have a really important input in that outcome.
“I know what I bring to the team, but it is what it is. Good luck to the team out there, the players know that even though I won’t be there, I will have my England shirt on as a fan this time and supporting all the way. No fear, go and smash it.”
Hart is not even on Southgate’s standby list – with Burnley’s Tom Heaton the only goalkeeper in that group.
Southgate spoke about the decision to leave Hart out at his press conference on Thursday.
“Of course it was a difficult call,” he said.
“But in the end I’ve got to look at performances over the last 18 months with their clubs and the three lads we picked were the three best goalkeepers in the league this year.”
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