Sam Allardyce hopes to hold talks with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola regarding the future of England goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Guardiola has demoted Hart, England’s regular number one, to the bench and preferred Willy Caballero in goal for the first three games of his Etihad Stadium reign.
City are widely tipped to complete the signing of Barcelona keeper Claudio Bravo this week, leaving Hart’s future at a club where he made his debut almost 10 years ago looking bleak.
Allardyce offered the consolation that he will include the 63-cap Hart in his squad to face Slovakia in England’s opening 2018 World Cup qualifier when it is named over the weekend.
But the former Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers boss is eager to get the inside track on a situation he concedes will hurt Hart’s prospects of retaining a starting berth with his country if it is for the long-term.
“Absolutely — eventually, in the end, [playing regularly] is critical for a player,” the England manager told reporters.
“If it’s a short period of time, maybe not. Then they come back in the team and everything’s goes fine.
“If it goes for a longer period of time then I think it’s difficult then to select them, based on how they feel, never mind from a training point of view — can they go and play at that level having not played for their own team for a considerable amount of time? So it is a concern.
“I’ll go and speak to them about that – Pep and Joe – sooner or later. Certainly when Joe joins us because he’ll be in the squad.
“If I can get the chance to go and see Pep I’d like to listen to him anyway.”
The impressive progress of two of England’s brightest young talents is likely to be on the agenda when that meeting happens.
John Stones was an unused substitute throughout Euro 2016 but has performed with impressive authority since joining City from Everton in a move that made him the Premier League’s most expensive defender, while Raheem Sterling has put a chastening campaign in France behind him to star in Guardiola’s free-flowing attacking line-up
Allardyce is keen to see Stones making good on his potential at a club he believes is the right place for him to develop
“Potential is something that’s going to be great in the future,” he said. “I want it right now — and I think he’s got a great chance of becoming that right now.
“With all due respect to Everton, working with Manchester City is the level he has to get to because you don’t realise [Guardiola] does focus quite a lot on defending.”
On Sterling, he added: “There’s always that time in football where people say that when you have the dip, it’s how well do you overcome it.
“And when you do overcome it, you then end up being a much better player and generally your career lasts a lot longer after getting through that period.
“So if he’s through that period and his talent begins to blossom again… because he’s not at the peak of his career yet. He’s 21.
“He’s a terrific talent, like many of the players in England. We’ve just got to enhance the talent, play as a team and win.”