ENGLAND manager Roy Hodgson insists he has no doubts about handing out-of-form goalkeeper Joe Hart the No1 shirt for the final friendly of 2013 against Germany tonight.
Hodgson, who named his team yesterday, has made nine changes to the side that lost 2-0 to Chile at Wembley on Friday, with striker Wayne Rooney and midfielder Adam Lallana alone retaining their places.
Hart’s scheduled appearance will be his first since gifting Chelsea striker Fernando Torres a 90th minute winner in a 2-1 defeat for Manchester City on 27 October.
Hodgson, though, insists Hart’s axe by City manager Manuel Pellegrini following a string of costly errors is not his concern.
“I’m sure he’ll respond very well. It’s not my business, his club football career,” said Hodgson, who selected previously uncapped Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster on Friday.
“But he is a proud man, he’s very pleased to be playing for England and he’s done well for us.
“We’ve had no cause to doubt him during these very, very important qualifying games we’ve had and also in the Euros.
“In 14 very, very important games we’re unbeaten and we’ve only let in seven or eight goals in those 14, so I think he’s entitled to feel confident to pull on the England jersey.
“We’re all behind him, we all think he’s a very good goalkeeper and we expect him to play well on Tuesday.”
Midfielder Steven Gerrard is set to captain England and earn his 108th cap, drawing him level with World Cup winning skipper Bobby Moore.
Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge is set to partner Rooney in attack after overcoming a foot injury, while defender Ashley Cole will earn his 106th cap.
And Hodgson is delighted with the depth of talent available as he continues to weigh up who will make the cut for next summer’s World Cup squad.
“The challenge is going to be making certain that we’ve got the right squad of players going to Brazil and there’s some sort of balance in that squad, so players compliment each other,” added Hodgson.
“Handling the competition for places is another factor which we’ll have to take into account, with three matches in a week in tough climatic conditions. The most important thing is I’m very pleased with the team.”
Germany boss Joachim Low will hand a debut to 33-year-old goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller, while Sven Bender is set to replace Sami Khedira who ruptured knee ligaments in Friday’s draw with Italy.
Team to play Germany
Joe Hart, Kyle Walker, Chris Smalling, Phil Jagielka, Ashley Cole,
Steven Gerrard, Tom Cleverley,
Andros Townsend, Adam Lallana, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge
Germany 4 England 1
World Cup finals – June 2010
Germany 1 England 2
Friendly – Nov 2008
England 1 Germany 2
Friendly – Aug 2007
Germany 1 England 5
World Cup qualifier – Sept 2001
England 0 Germany 1
World Cup qualifier – Oct 2000
England 1 Germany 0
Euro Championships – June 2000
England 1 Germany 1
(5-6 on penalties)
Euro Championships – June 1996
Germany 2 England 1
Friendly – June 1993
England 0 Germany 1
Friendly – Sept 1991