Belfast Telegraph

Torino new boy Joe Hart to keep England spot as Forster pulls out

Shirty: Joe Hart shows off a Torino top in Turin yesterday
Shirty: Joe Hart shows off a Torino top in Turin yesterday

By Mark Ogden

Joe Hart is set to start in England's World Cup qualifier against Slovakia after Fraser Forster pulled out of Sam Allardyce's squad with an arm injury.

Hart, who has not trained with England this week after being given permission to fly to Italy to complete a loan move from Manchester City to Torino, had been facing the axe after losing his first-team place at the Etihad.

But Forster's withdrawal has now given Hart a reprieve, with Allardyce yet to call up a replacement for the Southampton keeper.

Tom Heaton, the Burnley shot-stopper, is already in the England squad for Sunday's clash in Trnava. But having won just one cap - a brief substitute appearance against Australia last season - he is unlikely to dislodge Hart for the opening game of Allardyce's reign.

Jack Butland's failure to overcome a long-term ankle injury at Stoke City has denied him the chance to claim the goalkeeper's position for the Slovakia game.

But despite the distraction of Hart spending almost two days in Turin this week, Allardyce is to set start with the 29-year-old, who endured an error-strewn campaign at Euro 2016.

Meanwhile, Danny Drinkwater believes his omission from Roy Hodgson's Euro 2016 squad has given him the jolt required to focus his mind on securing a regular place in Allardyce's England plans.

Having played a key role in Leicester's title-winning campaign, Drinkwater's omission, in favour of Arsenal's Jack Wilshere, was regarded at the time as a gamble by Hodgson and a cruel blow for the 26-year-old.

But three months on, Drinkwater admits that the disappointment ultimately saved him from allowing himself to become complacent after a dream season.

"It was a blow and a disappointment," Drinkwater said. "But on it is probably best I didn't finish on just winning the title because I might have got sloppy this season.

"So in a way, ending the season on a bit of a low might have kicked me back into gear to get going again this season."

Belfast Telegraph


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