England’s goalkeeper Hart unfazed by penalty duties
KRAKOW, Poland: England goalkeeper Joe Hart says he is ready to take a penalty if Sunday’s Euro 2012 quarter-final against Italy goes to a shoot-out. England have won just one penalty shoot-out in six attempts since 1990, a record of failure which has weighed heavily on successive English sides over the past two decades.
However the supremely confident Hart told a press conference he would welcome the responsibility to be one of England’s five penalty-takers should the opportunity arise at Kiev’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday.
“If they let me, I would put my name forward 100%,” the Manchester City stopper said. “Hopefully it won’t come to that (taking penalties) but I would back myself (to take a penalty) in a tournament.
“If penalties are required then so be it,” said Hart, who is one of the few players in the England squad to have tasted victory in a shoot-out.
The 25-year-old successfully converted a spot-kick when England’s Under-21s defeated Sweden 5-4 in Gothenburg in the semi-final of the juniors European Championship in 2009.
“As much as anyone else, I do like to take my penalties,” he said.
In the meantime, Hart has been busy studying the preferences of Italy’s likely penalty takers, trawling through video after video to look for clues.
“I do my research, I know where all the Italian players put their penalties,” Hart said. “I watch it (the video) on my own. I watch it quite late in the day.”
Hart meanwhile backed City team-mate Joleon Lescott to subdue the threat posed by another City club-mate Mario Balotelli.
“He could be a great threat, he’s a great player,” said Hart.
“More importantly Joleon knows him. I’ve never actually played against the guy (Balotelli) but it would be a lot of fun,” he said.