Brum boss desperate to keep Hart

BY foxsports • February 15, 2010

Alex McLeish has told Birmingham chief executive Michael Dunford to step up attempts to keep Joe Hart at the club for at least another season.

Hart is on loan from Manchester City and has played a major part in Blues establishing themselves in the top 10 of the Premier League and reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

In an ideal world McLeish would like to make the move permanent for a player who would be reluctant to go back to Eastlands as a number two to Shay Given after tasting regular top flight action.

But the former Scotland boss would be content if Birmingham can keep Hart for another 12 months.

McLeish said: "We spoke to City a couple of months ago. Joe has had no contact from them and we've had no contact.

"But I know I've put into the system that our chief executive should be talking to City about next season.

"If I can't get Hart permanent, would I settle for another loan season? Yes.

"Joe loves his team-mates, he loves the club, the ambience. When you have a feelgood factor, then players can give of their best form and play without fear.

"We have ironed out a few rough edges and I hope City recognise that and give us a bit of goodwill for next season - if you are listening Man City!

"Sometimes you can learn under different coaches and maybe do things different ways. We'd like to think we have definitely improved Joe with some of the stuff we have worked on."

McLeish has reiterated his belief that Hart should be part of England's World Cup squad and Fabio Capello has indicated he is pleased with the progress of the former Shrewsbury player.

But McLeish is hoping Hart does not go to South Africa as number one and would benefit from playing games for his country in a less high-profile situation than a World Cup.

McLeish said: "I met Fabio at Wembley at an LMA dinner and he expressed his delight at Joe. He is pleased he is playing games every week.

"I'm not picking Fabio's team but I think Joe has earned the right to go to the World Cup.

"He has got to the stage now where I am sure Fabio will have his name ticked for the journey (to South Africa).

"But it would be a massive step to throw a young keeper into playing in a World Cup who has not been capped before.

"I think Joe could handle it but it would be better to be fed into the system before you embark on a World Cup finals.

"If he was to make one error in the World Cup finals, it is there for the whole world to see and you are scrutinised and the media are relentless in their persecution of people who make a mistake at that level.

"He should be eased in. He needs to get games. I would think Capello would rely on experience in South Africa in terms of who plays."


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