Belfast Telegraph

Joe Hart doesn't want to slow down as he nears 50th England cap

By Paul Hirst

Joe Hart is determined to ensure his England career stretches well beyond 50 caps. If the 27-year-old plays against Lithuania and Italy over the next week he will become the sixth - and youngest - England goalkeeper to bring up his half-century. Peter Shilton was 33 when he made his 50th appearance, David Seaman was 35, Gordon Banks 30, David James 39 and Ray Clemence 31.

That bodes well for Hart, who has a realistic chance of surpassing Shilton's 125-cap record if he keeps his number one spot.

Hart described himself as a "soldier" this week and there is no sign of any battle weariness from the goalkeeper just yet.

"I could potentially get 50 caps (against Italy)," said the Manchester City goalkeeper, who made his England debut 44 days after his 21st birthday.

"I am knocking on those kind of tallies at the moment which is exciting.

"I am honoured to play every single game I have done for England and for it to be 48 so far is fantastic but I just want to keep playing.

"I don't ever see any end. I don't want there to be an end. You can't finish one game and think, 'that is me sorted', I want to keep going, I keep preparing for games and hopefully I keep playing in them.

"I have got a lot of hard work to do to keep my place and I am willing to do that," he added.

"I'm a soldier, I'm a player. I just want to play as much as I can for my team and for my country and that's all I can put my focus on right now."

Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel has failed in his bid to overturn a three-match suspension for standing on Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.

The Slovakia international appealed to an independent panel sitting in judgement on the matter on the basis his action was accidental and not intentional.

However, the panel rejected the 30-year-old centre-back's submission and ruled the charge of violent conduct proven.

Skrtel will serve an immediate suspension, meaning he misses league games at Arsenal and home to Newcastle either side of the FA Cup quarter-final replay at Sky Bet Championship side Blackburn.

Earlier yesterday, Skrtel had posted a photo on his Instagram page of a group of clowns although the only accompanying caption was "...".

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