• Hart: I was fairly concerned when Guardiola arrived at Man City

    Joe Hart

    Joe Hart admits he was “fairly concerned” about his future when Pep Guardiola was appointed manager of Manchester City in 2016.

    The arrival of the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach ultimately had Hart depart the club he won two Premier League titles with as Guardiola opted to spend big on Brazilian Ederson.

    Hart, who had briefly lost his spot in City’s goal under Manuel Pellegrini, felt his time at the Etihad was nearing an end once the club decided to appoint Guardiola.

    While the current Burnley keeper was eager to fight for his place at City, Hart holds no ill will towards Guardiola for forcing him out the door.

    “I was fairly concerned,” Hart told the Guardian when asked about Guardiola’s appointment. “Lots of important people tried to reassure me. But you just have a feeling, don’t you?

    “I came back late from the [2016] Euros and he made it clear when I got there that I needed to be out by that window. That’s Pep’s brilliance. He makes decisions and stands by them.

    “I don’t dislike him. We get on as men and we both love football.

    “I made sure we had dialogue. I certainly backed myself to the hilt when we spoke. I listened to what he had to say. There’s more to it than me not being as good with my feet he wants from a goalkeeper.

    “I realised he needed to make his stamp at City. He had a direction he wanted to go and he’s not exactly struggled since, has he?”

    Since leaving the Etihad, Hart has played for Torino, West Ham and Burnley but the now 33-year-old has failed to recapture his best form.

    Having struggled to secure game time this season under Sean Dyche before the coronavirus pandemic struck, Hart’s desire to play on has only been strengthened.

    “This lockdown has made me realise how much I want to play football,” he said.

    “All I want to do is be a big part of something. I understand I’m not going to be part of Real Madrid. I don’t think I’ve lost the ability, but I know how football works. I just want to be a big part of a club and give my all to them. That hope burns through me.

    “I’m going to try and get back in the team. And if I don’t, there’s always another transfer opportunity. There’s no point in sulking. I’m still part of the squad. It gives you some power if you have a dialogue with the manager. It’s important to have that when you’re doing well. But it’s even more important when you’re not doing well.”

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