Belfast Telegraph

Debut boy Joe Hart aims to be England's number one

Manchester City's Joe Hart wants to establish himself as England number one and is relishing the prospect of finally making his competitive debut for his country in tomorrow's home Euro 2012 qualifier with Bulgaria.

Hart made his first appearance under Fabio Capello in 2008 against Trinidad and Tobago and was part of the World Cup squad this summer.

He replaced David James between the posts for last month's friendly with Hungary and now is almost certain to be in the starting line-up at Wembley.

It will be another massive tonic for Hart after Roberto Mancini named him in the Manchester City side to start the season in preference to Shay Given.

Hart said: “I'd love the opportunity to establish myself but I'm just working hard and enjoying every game at the moment with Man City.

“We've got a few extra games in the Europa League as well and there are lots of opportunities to play and that is what I love doing.

“Hopefully that will all tie together and I'll try and get into the team on Friday.

“Everyone is looking forward to Friday because there are a few opportunities for people who maybe would not get as much of a chance if the established players are here. There are a couple of opportunities for people to set their marker and be involved in something special.”

Meanwhile, Peter Crouch will miss the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland due to a back injury.

Coach Fabio Capello took the precaution of naming an additional striker in his 24-man squad, so when it was confirmed yesterday afternoon that Crouch had returned to Spurs for treatment, there was no requirement for a replacement to be drafted in.

As Bobby Zamora was ruled out prior to the squad being announced, it leaves Capello to choose from Wayne Rooney, Carlton Cole, Darren Bent and Jermain Defoe, who has recovered from a groin complaint, amongst his striking options.

There is cover for Phil Jagielka, who also sat out training yesterday with an ankle problem which David Moyes revealed made him a doubt following Everton's defeat at Aston Villa on Sunday.

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