talkSPORT pundit slams 'vendetta' against 'top, top' West Ham star
Chris Kirkland has backed Joe Hart to fight back from the criticism he is facing during his loan spell at West Ham United.
Hart has struggled for form since being dropped from the Manchester City starting line-up by Pep Guardiola in 2016.
The 30-year-old spent last season on loan at Italian side Torino before joining the Hammers on a season-long loan in the summer.
However, there have been calls for Spanish goalkeeper Adrian to return to the starting line-up after his impressive display in the 2-1 defeat at Manchester City on Sunday, with Hart unable to play against his parent club.
Hart’s position as England’s first-choice goalkeeper has also come into question recently, with some suggesting he should be dropped from the side in favour of Everton’s Jordan Pickford.
However, former Liverpool and England goalkeeper Kirkland believes that the criticism of Hart is unfair.
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“There seems to be a bit of a vendetta against him at the minute, for me he’s a top, top keeper,” Kirkland told talkSPORT.
“The criticism Joe has taken has been very harsh, but we all know the industry we’re in – when you get a target on your back unfortunately it stays there for a while.
“But Joe is a big enough boy, he’s a great goalkeeper and he’s very confident – he’ll fight this all the way.”
West Ham have the worst defensive record in the Premier League this season, having conceded 32 goals from 15 matches with Hart conceding 30 of them.
Hart made two big mistakes in his last game for the Hammers against Everton, giving away a penalty and being lobbed be Wayne Rooney from inside his own half.
It remains to be seen whether the Englishman will return to the starting line-up when West Ham face champions Chelsea in Premier League action on Saturday lunchtime.
In other West Ham news, the Hammers are closing in on the signing of this prolific striker, according to a report.