McLeish: Hart won’t want to be second choice

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish thinks on loan keeper Joe Hart wil

find it “very difficult” if he returns to Manchester City to be

second choice.

Hart has excelled during his temporary spell at Blues and

emerged as a strong contender to be part of England’s World Cup

squad.

McLeish would like to retain the services of Hart for another

12 months although he accepts Roberto Mancini will have the final

say on the matter.

But he believes the former Shrewsbury player would struggle

to come to terms with being on the substitutes’ bench at Eastlands

after what he has achieved at Birmingham this season.

McLeish said: “It will great to get an early nod on Joe from

City because we wouldn’t want to be going into the May-June period

thinking that Joe is going to be coming back here – when he is not.

“We have to get an answer from City quite soon – and I am

sure Joe wants an answer as well.

“Manchester City have every right to answer when they want

to. He is their player and they maybe don’t have their plans fully

in place yet. I can totally understand that.

“I am being selfish for Birmingham and they are doing it for

Manchester City reasons so it is a difficult one. Joe is

unfortunately caught in the middle of it.”

McLeish added: “I know managers can’t think about one player

and one team. You have to think about the whole team and the whole

club and you have to have a vision for the whole club.

“But the human element in me says a player of Joe’s

magnitute, after what he has done this season, will find it very

difficult to be sitting on someone’s bench next season regardless

of maybe getting a pay hike.

“I just don’t see it in that guy’s nature to put up with that

but it will be someone else’s problem if that is the decision

Manchester City make.”

Meanwhile Birmingham’s number two keeper Maik Taylor has

vowed to carry on playing “as long as the enjoyment is still there”

as he prepares for new contract talks at the age of 38.

Northern Ireland international Taylor has lost his first team

spot this season to Hart but is keen to remain with Blues.

He said: “The minute I don’t enjoy going in day to day and

training, is the day I will pack up. It’s not necessarily about

playing at the weekend. It’s about enjoying going to work every day

which is your bread and butter.”