Shot To The Hart – Where Next for the Ex-England Number One?

It has been a tumultuous few seasons for goalkeeper Joe Hart.

It was announced that the former England No.1 will be released from his Burnley contract at the end of the month, with the club opting against extending the 33 year old’s contract until the end of the current campaign.

Trouble really started for the four-time Premier League Golden Glove winner at Euro 2016. A number of crucial errors was a factor to his downfall, including an error of judgment against Wales to allow Gareth Bale to score a free-kick.

From then onwards things have gone down hill. A loan move to West Ham after Pep deemed him not good enough for Man City, a loan to Torino and a period at Burnley have given the Englishman a chance to get first-team football. However, at Burnley he was number three keeper for a long period with Tom Heaton and Nick Pope both preferred.

So what destination would suit a man who still has plenty to give?

The first destination of choice and perhaps would suit Hart, Birmingham City. A loan spell in the 2009/10 season at St Andrews saw the Englishman make 36 appearances and keep 10 clean sheets, becoming a fan favourite in the process. With Lee Camp possibly leaving at the end of the season, a replacement goalkeeper will be needed and Hart could be the perfect option. A step down to the Championship could be the spark that he needs to get his career back on track.

Another team that Hart could become an option for is Sheffield United. The Blades have been the surprise package in the Premier League this year with Manchester United loanee Dean Henderson being the stand-out star. Eleven clean sheets in 29 appearances is exceptional for a goalkeeper in his first Premier League season especially for a side that has only just been promoted from the Championship. 

Soccer : Barclays Premier League - Manchester City v Queens Park Rangers : News Photo
Hart is a 2 time Premier League winner but his decline has been steep and fast.

The major worry for Chris Wilder is if the Red Devils are willing to loan Henderson to the South Yorkshire club again for next season or whether they will opt to keep him instead.

Hart would be the perfect option for Sheffield United if they cannot get Henderson again, with Simon Moore getting only a handful of appearances and Michael Verrips yet to make an appearance. This move would still enable Hart to be in the top division of English football and arguably become first choice again.

The final destination for Hart could be a move up north to Glasgow. Scottish Premier League Champions Celtic could be looking for replacement if Fraser Forster does not sign a permanent deal.  With Craig Gordon ageing and possibly set to retire it could prove to be a last resort for the England goalkeeper. Winning ten titles in a row is no easy feat and Celtic will want to get a safe pair of hands if they want to fend off the likes of Rangers and Aberdeen next season. Celtic would definitely be the last resort for Hart, with Scotland often being the point of criticism for being a ‘one team league’. 

Irrespective of where Hart ends up, this could be his last chance to get back to being a No.1 goalkeeper somewhere and get his career back on track.

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