Hart: I’m nowhere near being England great

England goalkeeper Joe Hart insists he is a long way off emulating the achievements of some of his illustrious predecessors.

The 25-year-old Manchester City stopper has been widely branded as the best English custodian of his generation with his excellent shot-stopping and calming maturity in front of the defensive line making him the automatic choice for his country at Euro 2012.

But the former Shrewsbury Town man believes there is much for him to achieve in the game before he can be compared to the greats of yesteryear.

Speaking exclusively in the June 2012 issue of FourFourTwo, he said: "I’m happy with my form but the idea of being mentioned in the same breath as those guys [Gordon Banks, Peter Shilton and David Seaman] is just, well, just an idea.

"They have some serious appearances behind them and some serious performances on the biggest of stages. I’ve only played a couple of qualifiers and not done anything. I’m nowhere near that level yet."

Although he now boasts a total of 17 international caps and played in all eight of England’s qualifying games, Euro 2012 itself will represent a major tournament bow for Hart, who had loan spells earlier in his career at Tranmere Rovers, Blackpool and Birmingham City.

The 6ft 5in tall player travelled to the 2010 World Cup but did not make it off the substitutes' bench, with then manager Fabio Capello instead preferring Rob Green and David James.

Missing out on playing time in South Africa was naturally a huge disappointment, but he says it helped him to develop as an individual and provided him with a vital taste of the things that surround top-level tournament football.

"Obviously I desperately wanted to play but I didn’t pick the team,” he says. “I felt ready, but that’s how it goes. I don’t dwell on it; in fact, I take the positives. It was a great experience and you have to deal with disappointment. I was out there and I didn’t play. That’s life. There’s no point sulking because that¹s not going to get you anywhere."

Read the full interview with Joe Hart in the June 2012 issue of FourFourTwo, which includes a 68-page supplement previewing Euro 2012.

However, be quick. It's only in shops today before the July issue hits the shelves on Saturday June 2. 

By David Arnold