Fearless Hart primed for England duel

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Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart refuses to live in fear of the mistake that might cost him his England place.

Having started the season not knowing whether he was going to be first choice at Eastlands or Shay Given’s deputy, Hart is ending it as his country’s undisputed number one.

Ben Foster has already given up the struggle of battling with Hart for a Three Lions berth and followed Paul Robinson into retirement, albeit on a temporary basis.

Robert Green was considering going the same way until Fabio Capello made his SOS call ahead of Saturday’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland at Wembley.

Yet, no matter how secure Hart appears to be in his present position, as a goalkeeper, he is only ever a second from calamity.

Green’s unhappy World Cup experience is the most obvious example. But Robinson, David James and David Seaman could all recall moments when they wished the ground would open up, and they were opened up to scrutiny none of their team-mates will ever experience.

Hart accepts that analysis as an occupational hazard.

This most clear-thinking of characters has no intention of having his mind scrambled by it.

“You have to accept that sometimes it is going to happen,” he said. “But the whole point is that you can’t live in fear of preventing mistakes.

“I could be in the park playing with my nephew, who isn’t even three years old. If he kicks it in the corner, I can’t save it. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing or what you’re doing. You can be humbled as a goalkeeper. Obviously you do everything you can to prevent it, but you have to accept that anyone, at any point can score past you.”

Rio Ferdinand’s return alongside John Terry is regarded as automatic and it would be a major surprise if Scott Parker was not handed the midfield holding role.