Joe Hart has opened up about his unceremonious dumping at Manchester City by Pep Guardiola, suggesting that changing the Spaniard’s mind would’ve proven impossible.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager took the reins in Eastlands in the summer, and through the club’s preseason work, deemed Hart unfit for meeting his requirements for a goalkeeper. Rather than facing demotion from fan favourite and No. 1 to third choice under Guardiola, Hart opted to try his hand in Serie A with Torino on the transfer window’s final day.
Considering the affinity Hart developed with the City support since moving from Shrewsbury Town in 2006, it was wrenching for the 65-time England international to depart M11.
“Football is a game of opinions and some people have a great opinion of me and some people probably think I’m absolutely useless,” Hart told The Telegraph’s John Percy. “Unfortunately for me, one of the guys’ opinions in charge of my club at the time wasn’t as strong as it needed to be.
“Some people you struggle to argue with – they’ve got a lot of strong backing to what they say and what they do. It’s hard to please everyone and I learnt quite early that that’s never going to happen.”
Hart’s apparent shortcoming was a lack of assurance with the ball at his feet, an aspect of his game which vaulted Willy Caballero above him in the pecking order. That was later followed by a splurge exceeding £15.4 million on 33-year-old Claudio Bravo from Barcelona. Somewhat ironically, the latter’s dallying on the ball has led teams to rapidly close down on the Chilean in an effort to capitalise on errors.
Even Bravo’s unforeseen struggles would have been unlikely to result in minutes for Hart if he’d stuck around, however.
“I had a situation at City where my playing time was going to be limited, so I had to look elsewhere,” he said.
“I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t sat there with 25 options. I felt like Torino was the best option for me and it was pretty quick. I wasn’t given much time so when that opportunity came, I was really grateful.”
His exploits between the sticks in Turin have quickly won a huge following from the club’s fans, and he has also retained his first-choice status at international level – playing the full 90 minutes in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat of Malta.
Considering his early success in Italy, can he see a return to City in the future?
“I’m at Torino for the season and it’s hard to look past these internationals,” Hart said. “How this season plays out, or what comes of it, will be however it ends up.
“I’m at Torino with huge commitment to the club, huge commitment to the season, the culture, the football, and I’m going to give it my all. Whatever happens, happens.”
Hart is expected to line up in the Three Lions’ trip to Slovenia in Tuesday’s latest World Cup qualification bout, then return to domestic matters in an away tilt at Palermo on Oct. 17.