Malta goalkeeper Andrew Hogg says he feels sorry for England’s Joe Hart ahead of the two nations’ World Cup qualifying clash on Saturday.
Wembley is the venue as Gareth Southgate begins his spell as interim manager against a Malta team who have gone 11 matches without a victory.
Keeper Hogg, who was born in England, has been watching the situation of Hart and sympathised with him after he was loaned out to Serie A side Torino having spent 10 years on Manchester City’s books.
That came after new City boss Pep Guardiola dropped him from the team and opted to sign Claudio Bravo from Barcelona, with reports he wanted a ‘keeper who was more comfortable with the ball at his feet.
“I’ve followed Joe’s situation quite a lot and, yes, I feel sorry for him,” Hogg told reporters ahead of the match.
“Goalkeeping is changing, for sure – I’ve seen the same thing playing in Greece and even in Malta.
“Even though the quality is not the same they are all looking for goalkeepers who can pass.
“I understand the reasoning of the Manchester City coach, it makes sense, but at the end of the day it happens and you have to deal with whatever football or life throws at you.
“Football is a game of confidence and you will go in and out of form, but the best fight back and stay at the top. Joe got himself to Torino and Serie A is a great league.”
On the game against the country of his birth, Hogg added: “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity but you can’t lose your mind about the glitziness of the stadium or the situation.
“You focus on your job and be a professional. We’ve played Italy four times in recent qualifying and they never took the mick out of us.”