Joe Hart: I like playing in the places where you’re hated the most

Manchester City’s No.1 explains his big-game love, and the key to sticking around at the top for good… 

Joe Hart has been through rather a lot for a 28-year-old. At this point most folk are still trying to ignore that the last of their 20s is fast evaporating, but if anything the Manchester City goalkeeper is only relishing his own maturing.   

Hart’s career – now in its 12th season – has featured five clubs in various guises, three trips to major tournaments with England and a string of title challenges that have earned him two shiny Premier League winners’ medals. There’s a strong argument that his best performances are happening right now too. 

Mind you, it’s not that surprising when you consider that Hart was first involved in Shrewsbury’s first-team setup aged 15, made his debut the day after he turned 17 and had almost every club worth their salt clamouring to sign him in his first full season minding the Shrews net. 

Obviously there’s plenty of talented people in the world who are good at football, so you need to believe in what you do

- Joe Hart

Hart has always been a wanted man, then – no mean feat for a goalkeeper, whose every move is scrutinised. So how does one remain among the world’s best glovesmen; that unforgiving, often-brutal position on a football pitch? 

“It’s one of the most important things to be confident when you’re playing, because that’s half the battle,” says Hart, spokesman for Head and Shoulders and their Classic Clean line. “Obviously there’s plenty of talented people in the world who are good at football, so you need to believe in what you do, be comfortable. It makes doing it a whole lot easier.

“[Confidence comes] from training and from enjoyment of the game. I’m confident because I know I’m going to try my best whether the situation is good or bad or indifferent. I can back up what I’m doing with that feeling.” 

Big games, more fun

There aren’t many places I don’t like going. Even the places where you’re hated and they make it really difficult for you

- Joe Hart

That’s easier said than done when you’ve got a Lionel Messi, Alexis Sanchez or Cristiano Ronaldo type bearing down on goal, though – or some nutcase in the stands chanting, er... creatively at you (like the above). Not that Hart wakes up in cold sweats thinking about trips to Europe’s big guns in the Champions League. 

“I’ve enjoyed the big stadiums we’ve played at – we’ve played in Madrid, we’ve played in Barcelona, we’ve played in Munich. We had a great game in Rome, which is a really cool city. They’ve been a lot of fun,” says the City shot-stopper.  

“There aren’t many places I don’t like going. Even the places where you’re hated and they make it really difficult for you – I like that side of football.”

Joe Hart is an ambassador for Head & Shoulders. Click here for more information.