Sportsdesk Comment with Martin Dowey: Criticism of Hart is harsh

Manchester City and England keeper Joe Hart
Manchester City and England keeper Joe Hart

Dark shadows have been cast over one of England’s brightest stars in the past few weeks.

The country’s number one keeper Joe Hart is coming in for a barrage of stick, despite being - comfortably - the best stopper in the land.

A few shaky moments in the England game against Scotland and the Manchester City fixture in Cardiff has seen Hart cast down from hero status to a huge liability.

The Red Top newspapers have jumped all over this dramatic fall from grace, as have Twitter and Facebook.

Former keepers have been giving their advice in print and a huge storm has been blown up.

Hart has just managed to hang onto the number one jersey with England, but Manuel Pellegrini is already pondering his options.

The main one being swapping a previously faultless performer for a randomer from Politehnica Timişoara.

This is the kind of thing we English love to jump on and Hart’s case isn’t helped by the fact that his position on the pitch is the most important.

Usually when a keeper makes an error it results in a goal.

In contrast, when Danny Welbeck does his usual trick of falling over the ball when clean through on goal nobody calls for him to be hauled across hot coals.

In the past Paul Robinson and other have come in for the same lashings of humiliation for a small error and their careers have systematically crumbled.

What good does that do for the country apart from crushing a top player’s confidence?

Give Hart a couple of weeks and he’ll be back making the saves that keep our average-looking national side in their quest for qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil.

That is if he gets the chance.

A similar story has happened at Scarborough Athletic over the past month or so.

Boro made the impressive capture of Jason White at the beginning of pre-season.

While White was getting used to his teammates in Boro’s preparatory outings, the fans and posters on a certain website were starting to get a little twitchy.

The same old tale struck again - if something doesn’t work immediately then change it.

Fortunately Rudy Funk opted not to heed these moans and his decision was correct.

I am yet to take in a Boro game since the season began, due to a well-earned break in Spain.

My young padawan Rhys Howell has had nothing but praise for White, who has smartly proved all of his critics wrong with some excellent performances.

Unfortunately, further up the rungs in the win-at-all-costs world of top-flight football, the plight of Joe Hart may not have such a happy ending.