Thursday 22 February 2018

Hart set to continue kicking his heels

Joe Hart
Joe Hart

Mark Ogden and Marc Isaacs

Manuel Pellegrini has hinted that he will keep Joe Hart on the sidelines for Manchester City's encounter with Tottenham after insisting the England goalkeeper "must wait" for a recall.

The City manager claimed he will not decide on his goalkeeper for tomorrow's game until after training today. Costel Pantilimon, Hart's Romanian understudy, has claimed a place in the starting line-up in recent weeks following a series of high-profile mistakes by Hart.

Despite Hart's impressive performance in England's defeat against Germany this week, Pellegrini admits that the 26-year-old may be forced to extend his spell on the substitutes' bench this weekend.

"I can't continue to always answer about Hart and Pantilimon," Pellegrini said. "Both are very good goalkeepers, but now we are playing Pantilimon, so Hart must wait. We'll see what happens in the future, with all the players in the squad, not only the 'keepers.

"It was very important for Joe to play with England. I think he did very well. But we will see on Saturday who is in the starting XI."

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas could be set for one of his biggest gambles if he decides to start Emmanuel Adebayor against his former club. Adebayor looked to be heading out of the exit door at White Hart Lane during the summer after Tottenham secured the £26m signing of Roberto Soldado from Valencia.

The Togo forward has not played for Spurs this season and has only been named in their match-day squad on one occasion, as an unused substitute in a Europa League tie. But Villas-Boas is concerned that Spurs have scored only once in three league games.

Adebayor trained with the first-team squad over the international break and played alongside Soldado in a behind-closed-doors friendly last week.

"Ade has not had chance to get into the team yet but I am sure he will perform when he does," Villas-Boas said. "It is even a possibility Ade could play the game. It will be the decision that is best for the team and best for the strategy."

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur,

Live, tomorrow, Sky Sports 1, 1.30

Irish Independent

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