Joe Hart can no longer lay claim to being among the best goalkeepers in the world, according to former Italy international Luca Marchegiani.
The England regular was frozen out at Manchester City and sent on loan to Torino after Pep Guardiola opted to bring in Claudio Bravo from Barcelona.
With Hart having endured a forgettable Euro 2016 campaign, criticism of the 29-year-old has intensified and Serie A winner Marchegiani feels his reputation has been tarnished.
“For years I regarded Hart as one of the top five goalkeepers in the world,” the former Lazio stalwart told Omnisport.
“When they would ask me who were [Gianluigi] Buffon’s competitors, I’d say those names…[Iker] Casillas, [Manuel] Neuer and Hart too in the mix.
“But I have to admit that in the last international events he didn’t prove to be a great goalkeeper.
“He didn’t play well at all in the last Euros and I don’t know why. Maybe in recent years he kept losing charisma at Manchester City until Guardiola benched him. This for sure had an impact on his performance level.”
Bravo is regarded as a more competent player with the ball at his feet, which suits Guardiola’s preferred style.
Marchegiani, who admits to having struggled with that part of the game himself, explained that such talents are now part and parcel of modern football.
“Managers now want a keeper who is comfortable managing the ball,” he said. “Managers feel calmer with this kind of goalkeeper, who lets the team play as the manager wants. It has become a very important aspect.
“If you check the number of hand saves a goalie does in a match, it is way lower than what we used to call ordinary administration and that now it is actually 90 per cent footwork.
“I understand a manager who’d rather pick a goalie less proficient in parrying those three or four shots, but better in managing those 40 or 50 balls with his feet.
“So, yes, it is justified to choose a goalie for his footwork.”
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