Under par Hart happy to receive challenge from old friend Foster

GOALKEEPER Joe Hart concedes he has underperformed this season and has welcomed the challenge to be dislodged as England’s No1 after Ben Foster backtracked on his international retirement.

Hart is expected to start in England’s World Cup qualifiers against San Marino tomorrow and Montenegro on Tuesday, adding to his 16 consecutive competitive international caps, which date back to the World Cup in 2010.

He has remained largely unchallenged since then, despite his blip in form, but with Foster now back on the scene for the first time in almost two years Hart is delighted to have a genuine rival for his spot.

“It’s great to see Ben,” he said. “He is a consistent performer and someone I get on well with.

“I’ll keep working and training hard if there are no keepers or 1,000 keepers. That No1 spot is one I want to keep and last summer [European Championships] was a real high point in my career.

“It was one of the best things I’ve done as a footballer.

“My season has not been brilliant, but it’s football. It’s what I love doing.”

San Marino have not scored a goal in 22 competitive matches, since a 3-1 defeat to Slovakia in October 2008, and Hart is hopeful that run is not broken at the 7,000-capacity Serravalle Stadium.

“Someone is going to concede against them and hopefully, if I’m playing, it won’t be me,” he added.