David James backs Joe Hart’s Torino loan move to benefit England - and maybe Manchester City
The 29-year-old joined the Serie A side after new manager Pep Guardiola signed Chile’s Claudio Bravo following his summer arrival at the City of Manchester Stadium
England, and potentially Manchester City, can only benefit from Joe Hart’s loan move to Italian Serie A side Torino, according to former Three Lions and Liverpool goalkeeper David James.
Hart was the high-profile casualty of Pep Guardiola’s arrival to the City of Manchester Stadium from Bayern Munich at the start of the season, with the Spaniard preferring the sweeper-keeper style of Chile’s Claudio Bravo who he promptly signed from former club Barcelona.
That left Hart initially on the City bench at the start of the new Premier League season, and after playing in a Champions League qualifier, the 29-year-old became the first English goalkeeper to appear in Serie A since the league began in 1929.
Hart, though, has quickly settled into his new surroundings and Torino are currently seventh in the table following back-to-back wins prior to the current international break.
“The long term future of Joe at Manchester City is not good, but with the opportunity he has got in Italy, he will develop one way or another and I think positively. So if his future is at Manchester City, you have to think if that positive change will be enough to get him back in there,” James, who played for an England Masters team against Hong Kong Football Club on Tuesday, told the Post.
“The move for Joe is good. Of course it is not what he wanted. He loves Manchester City and wanted to stay at Manchester City, but he has got a chance to play in Italy and gain that valuable experience.
“It is something that is going to make him a better person and a better goalkeeper, and if he become a better goalkeeper, then England has a better goalkeeper. It was not his first choice, but he will come out of it with a positive experience.”
Bravo has not enjoyed the smoothest of starts to his City career after gifting Manchester United a goal on his debut before being sent off in the 4-0 Champions League defeat by Barcelona at the Nou Camp.
“With Pep Guardiola coming in, he wanted to make that change anyway, that’s what it appears to be, and it wasn’t to the determent of Joe Hart,” added James, who made 53 appearances for England.
“The way Joe plays compared to Bravo is very different, and if that is what Pep wanted then Joe didn’t have to be a bad goalkeeper not to do it, he just wanted that type of goalkeeper.
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“If anything, he has got the better of the deal as he has been playing well in another European league and getting a wealth of experience that no other English goalkeeper, I can’t think of the last English goalkeeper to play abroad maybe Chris Woods in Scotland, but that is it.
“English footballers have lacked the number of travelling high level players, there are a lot at lower levels, but to have an international player playing abroad is quiet rare and good to see that Joe is getting that opportunity.”
Hart’s exit from City followed England’s disastrous performances at Euro 2016, with the former Shrewsbury Town and Birmingham City goalkeeper receiving a large portion of the blame, with former international striker Ian Wright particularly critical of his prematch routine.
“Joe can do what he wants; I didn’t see a problem with what he did,” said James.
“Unfortunately Joe became a scapegoat for the performances of England overall and unfortunately that means people like Mr Wright are going to be saying things, but I think they are incorrect.
“England’s performances in the Euros were poor, and not just down to the goalkeeper.”