By Danny Wright
Alan Smith believes that West Ham goalkeeper Joe Hart simply had nothing to do in England’s 4-0 thrashing of Malta on Friday night.
Hart, 30, barely had a save to make in his latest international display as the Three Lions eased to victory to put themselves in pole position to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The England goalkeeper, who arrived on loan from Manchester City in the summer, has been widely criticised for his early performances for the Hammers after conceding 10 goals in three appearances.
Many believes that the senior Hammers player should no longer be seen as England’s No 1 choice between the sticks with Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford showing in their recent displays that they are worthy of a spot in Gareth Southgate’s squad.
However Sky Sports pundit Smith claims that it is hard to judge Hart’s display when he had so little to do against Malta, who are widely seen as one of Europe’s easiest nations to play against.
“Joe Hart had very little to do – Malta only had a couple of shots which went wide of the mark – so it’s hard to give him a rating. It was always likely to be a fairly straightforward game for him and so it proved, though I’d expect a tougher test against Slovakia on Monday night. You can’t really give him more than six, as he didn’t do anything,” said Smith in his player ratings on the Sky Sports website.
Hart has found his career to be on the ropes after an unconvincing display for England at Euro 2016 as they were knocked out by minnows Iceland.
He spent last term on loan at Torino in Serie A after being deemed surplus to requirements by City boss Guardiola and has now ended up at the London Stadium with West Ham for the duration of this season.
In other West Ham news, the chief of his European club has hit out at Irons’ co-owner David Sullivan for his recent claims.