Hart says his future is away from City

CHICAGO • Joe Hart has said he is desperate to leave Manchester City and reignite his career after being marginalised by Pep Guardiola.

The former England goalkeeper was axed by the City manager following the Spaniard's appointment two years ago and, despite loan spells at Torino and West Ham United, the 31-year-old has failed to secure a permanent move away from the Etihad.

Hart made his first City appearance since August 2016 in the International Champions Cup 1-0 defeat by Borussia Dortmund at Soldier Field, Chicago, on Friday yet knows his future lies elsewhere.

"I've never had such a long summer off, so it's just good to be playing football again," said Hart.

"But I need to go somewhere permanent, I think that's obvious. I did what I did in the previous two seasons because I needed to play to be involved in the World Cup.

"And look where that got me. I've played at the highest level for a long time and done a lot of things in the game. I need to be an important player at that club and I think that can only happen with a permanent move.

"I've got a year left and I'm not going on loan again because my situation has changed. I need to feel part of something. I'm always going to be a fighter."

Chelsea have been linked with a move for Hart if their No. 1 Thibaut Courtois departs for Real Madrid.

Hart's desire to leave and his cost - reported to be around £5 million (S$8.9 million) - make him an enticing option for new Blues manager Maurizio Sarri.

Hart's troubles at City also saw him lose his England place to Jordan Pickford and, although he was delighted to see Gareth Southgate's side upset the odds in Russia and reach the semi-finals, it was not easy viewing.

"I just wanted the team to do well," added Hart, who still harbours hopes of an international return.

"I've got a lot of good relationships with the boys in the team and I thought Jordan Pickford had a good World Cup.

"Obviously I wanted to be there, I wanted to be involved."

Another player who fell foul of Guardiola was Jadon Sancho, the Borussia Dortmund winger who left City for Germany last summer amid fears he would not play enough first-team football.

Sancho impressed as a second-half substitute for Dortmund, who ran out deserved winners.

"I had a point to prove," said Sancho.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 23, 2018, with the headline 'Hart says his future is away from City'. Print Edition | Subscribe