Football: Hodgson says Hart is still England's first-choice goalkeeper despite gaffes

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart reacts during their Champions League match against Bayern Munich at the Etihad Stadium on Oct 2, 2013. Hart remains England manager Roy Hodgson's number one goalkeeper despite mounting criticism of his form fo
Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart reacts during their Champions League match against Bayern Munich at the Etihad Stadium on Oct 2, 2013. Hart remains England manager Roy Hodgson's number one goalkeeper despite mounting criticism of his form following his poor display in that game. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - Joe Hart remains England manager Roy Hodgson's number one goalkeeper despite mounting criticism of his form following his poor display in Manchester City's Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich.

Hodgson stood squarely behind Hart on Thursday when naming his squad for England's World Cup qualifiers at home to Montenegro and Poland, saying he had faith in the 26-year-old.

Hart performed poorly for City against Bayern Munich in their group game on Wednesday, allowing well-hit but hardly unstoppable shots by Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben into his net in a 3-1 loss.

Television commentator Gary Neville, a member of Hodgson's coaching team, said Hart would be "disappointed" after conceding two poor goals but the England coach was quick to defend his goalkeeper.

"I am not blind to the situation, I do realise it is not a good moment for Joe," Hodgson told a news conference. "He is a proud man and a very good goalkeeper and I am sure when he is criticised he is unhappy.

"I have great faith in Joe and have no doubt he will come through these two games and we'll get the results we need and he'll put one bad game behind him.

"We need experience and need players who are tried and tested and playing regularly at the top level. Clearly looking at that criteria he's our No. 1."