‘I just need someone to believe in me’ – Former Man City & England keeper Hart on free agency
Former England and Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart has pleaded for a club to believe in him after parting ways with Burnley.
The veteran shot-stopper made just three appearances for the Clarets this season and has struggled for regular game time since leaving the Etihad in 2016 following the arrival of Pep Guardiola.
Since departing City, Hart played briefly for Torino and West Ham before moving to Burnley, but failed to cement his place in goal at all three.
Now a free agent, the 33-year-old is determined to prove his worth and admits he needs a club put some faith in him after a tough spell.
“The fact I have had to sit on the bench for 18 months in the Premier League is not going to define or crush me,” Hart told BBC Sport.
“I remember who I am. I remember playing for my local Sunday league team and trying to get into the Shrewsbury Town first team. I learned early – you need to keep things in perspective.
“You can have great things said about you in football, but you have to be strong on self-criticism, analyse what you are doing and be comfortable with it.
“Maybe from the outside, people are thinking it is a time for panic, but from the inside it is a time to look forward and see all the opportunities.
“I am young when it comes to goalkeeping. I am even younger when it comes to the mental age of a guy who just wants to go in goal and have people whack balls at him.
“I am under no illusions that Real Madrid are going to knock my door down, get [Thibaut] Courtois out and bring me in. But there is plenty more to come from me.
“I just need someone to believe in me and I will repay that faith.”
While now arguably at a low point in his career, Hart has managed to keep a positive mindset and has recently promoted the importance of mental health alongside Prince William in a BBC documentary.
Hart believes fans and future footballers get too caught up on mistakes and need to focus more on the positives.
“If I meet a bunch of Under-12s, I would be asking me about when I saved a Messi penalty or what it’s like playing for England,” Hart said.
“All they care about now is how do you deal with a mistake? How do deal with someone taunting you from behind the goal?
“That is not what your mindset should be as a kid. That’s why I got involved in it and that is why I talked about it.”