England: Joe Hart vows to return to top form for club and country

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Joe Hart says he will find form

San Marino v England, Group H World Cup Qualifier

Venue:
Stadio di Serravalle
Date:
Friday, 22 March
Kick-off:
20:00 GMT
Coverage:
Live text commentary on BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 live

Joe Hart has admitted his performances for both club and country this season have "not been brilliant".

The England keeper has been criticised for "two or three mistakes" by Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini.

"It has not been brilliant but that is football, stuff gets said," the 25-year-old said. "That is fair enough. But I'll always come out fighting,"

Hart is in the England squad for this week's World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.

The Shrewsbury-born player performed a key role in City's first league title win in 44 years last season, but their stuttering defence sees them sit 15 points behind leaders Manchester United.

When asked to describe City's campaign, Hart replied: "It has not been last season, it has been tough. We are not in a position we want to be in, but we will remain focused and remain hard on the case of what we need to do."

At international level, Hart took responsibility for conceding the equaliser which deprived England of all three points against Poland in October's World Cup qualifier.

But he still has "got hold of the shirt" as first choice England goalkeeper according to manager Roy Hodgson, and this status is unlikely to be tested against whipping boys San Marino.

Friday's opponents - ranked joint-207th in the world - were thrashed 5-0 at Wembley in October's meeting. They last scored a goal in a competitive match in 2008 and Hart hopes not to be the goalkeeper they end their barren run against.

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"I have just checked up to see if someone had scored against them recently, but they haven't," he joked.

"Someone is going to concede against them, and hopefully if I am playing, it will not be me.

"But the main focus of the game is to win. It is more important for the group [to win] rather than me looking silly."

England come into the World Cup qualifying double header two points behind group H leaders Montenegro, who they play on Tuesday.

Even though San Marino should present a simple task, midfielder Scott Parker insisted his team-mates' "main focus" remained on the upcoming game at Stadio di Serravalle rather than the subsequent top-of-the-table clash.

"It is going to be two totally different teams," the Tottenham player said. "We need to prepare as well as we can.

"Our main focus is Friday night's game against a San Marino side, who will be very different to Montenegro.

"It will be a difficult game as they will have 11 men behind the ball. Our focus over the next few days will be how we can break them down, get the three points and move on to Tuesday."