Slovakia vs England: Sam Allardyce has no concerns over selecting Joe Hart despite keeper's chaotic start to season

4 Sep

Sam Allardyce has insisted he has no fears over Joe Hart’s ability to focus on England’s opening World Cup qualifier against Slovakia after selecting the Torino goalkeeper to start Sunday’s game in Trnava.


Hart, 29, has been named in the starting XI by Allardyce following Fraser Forster’s withdrawal from the squad with an arm injury earlier this week.

Having been dropped by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, and then loaned to Torino, Hart has endured a complicated start to the season following his error-strewn campaign at Euro 2016.

But despite the distraction of having to fly to Italy to complete his move earlier this week after reporting for England duty, Allardyce insists Hart is ready to play.

“Joe only missed one day of training,” Allardyce said. “The president of Torino put a plane on for him, they picked him up, gave him a medical and dropped him off.

“It’s a good thing for Joe to get his future sorted out because he now knows he will be playing his football in Italy next season.

“He can now get his focus back on England, which is why I selected him for the match.”

The Group F clash against England’s Euro 2016 opponents – Roy Hodgson’s team were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw against Slovakia in Saint Etienne – will be Allardyce’s first in charge of his country.

No new manager has lost his first game in charge since Sir Alf Ramsey, who overcame that disappointment to win the World Cup in 1966.

But with his reign set to begin, the 61-year-old admits he will be nervous before the game starts.

“I think I will be nervous,” Allardyce said. “It’s like with every new job, you are going to be nervous to begin with.

“I just hope that the players do the talking for me on the pitch and deliver the victory that we all want.

“I will be very nervous in the early part of the day, but once the game starts, my focus on the match steps in and I won’t even hear the crowd once it gets going.”

Allardyce, meanwhile, confirmed that Manchester United defender Luke Shaw has returned to Old Trafford as a precaution having pulled out of the flight to Slovakia.

“It’s just a precaution with Luke,” Allardyce said. “We just wanted to make sure that he is back with United.

“He isn’t injured.He just woke up this morning and wasn’t feeling right.”

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