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Joe Hart reveals what makes Jordan Pickford different from any other England ace

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FOR Joe Hart, there is one reason that England do not have to worry about the man between the sticks.

Five letters that sum up why Jordan Pickford is unchallenged as Gareth Southgate’s No 1.

Joe Hart believes Jordan Pickford will be key for England at the Euros

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Joe Hart believes Jordan Pickford will be key for England at the EurosCredit: Getty
The former Three Lions goalie reckons Pickford has not put a foot wrong for his country

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The former Three Lions goalie reckons Pickford has not put a foot wrong for his countryCredit: Rex

Hart said: “It’s about trust. Jordan’s been exceptional for England, he really has.

“I could go into the technicalities and things but the biggest compliment that could be paid is that the England manager trusts him, the England team trust him.

“As a goalkeeper, that’s an incredible feeling and it’s one that’s not given out easily, it really isn’t.

“If you look at the top keepers who have won things over the years, they have always been trusted by their team-mates.

“And Jordan is trusted by the fans as well, which is important for this England team. You want to feel liked, you want to feel loved. And I think he fully deserves that label.”

Hart knows all about the pressure of being England’s last line of defence.

First choice for Roy Hodgson in 2012, 2014 and 2016 — while Manchester City’s No 1 — Hart is the last keeper before Pickford to play tournament football for the Three Lions.

This summer, after hanging up his gloves following a Treble in Scotland with Celtic — “I loved every moment of my three years there” — he will be in Germany as a  BBC pundit.

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But Hart has no doubts about Everton ace Pickford, even if some people think he gets too animated.

Hart, now 37, was no shrinking violet himself but he added: “We’re all our own people. And Jordan does what’s right for him, to make him play his best.

Tom Heaton reveals phone call from Gareth Southgate that saw Man Utd goalkeeper join up with England’s Euro 2024 squad

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“I’ve watched him through the years and I’d imagine people will pick up that he can have his own tendencies, when something goes well or something doesn’t.

“But what matters is what works for him. No matter how you behave, you can’t fake anything. That he has the status he has means he’s doing something right.

“Every single day his attitude is bang on. It sounds strange for that to be the biggest compliment I can give a goalkeeper.

“But I promise you, as a feeling, to know you’re around people who believe in you, it allows you to be free and express yourself.

“You’ve got to exude confidence to your defence.

“When I was growing up I wanted to save everything and anything. But then I evolved as a person and a keeper. Goals will go in, mistakes happen.

“We’re human. Stuff will happen, s*** will happen, sometimes — that’s life. But if you put yourself in the best position over and over you can feel  comfortable in a one-on-one situation, in a swerving shot situation — and bad things happen less.”

While Hart knows what Pickford goes through every session, he has also had a close-up view of the bloke at the other end of Southgate’s team.

Hart spent 2020-21 at Tottenham as Harry Kane won the Prem’s assist crown as well as the Golden Boot.

And he recalled: “I have seen just how much he puts into every training session and I love it.

Meet the ROBOT waiter looking after England stars at the Euros

ENGLAND stars will be served by a ROBOT called Robbie at the Euros.

Robbie is a key part of 160-strong staff at the vast 350-acre leisure site at Blankenhain, eastern Germany, where Gareth Southgate’s squad will be staying for the tournament.

The real-life WALL-E – kitted out in a Germany shirt with the name Kehrbart and the squad number 24 on it – helps out in the restaurant.

Robbie, with flashing blue eyes, says phrases in German including “Excuse me” and “Please let me get on with my work” as he collects dishes from guests at one of the hotel’s six restaurants.

A source told The Sun: “Robbie is usually a slate grey colour with flashing blue eyes and helps staff deliver plates and dishes.

“But the German team stayed at the hotel recently so he was given a new look and new name to support them.

“I’m not sure whether the England team will want to change his look when they arrive but a Three Lions shirt and an English name might be a good idea.”

Find out all about Robbie the robot waiter…

“I know  his qualities but what I really love is how he is spoken about by the people that really matter.

“I don’t think anyone can speak highly enough of him as a player and as a professional and to hear those sorts of things — even someone like Harry Kane — that will feel good.

“Harry is sensational. But what I love is he’s just THAT guy.

“He’s improved and improved. From being very good, from being exceptional, from being beyond exceptional.

“That’s really not an easy thing. It’s not down to talent. It’s down to attitude, down to will and desire and he’s an absolute example to every single footballer.”

The big question, though, is whether this time it will come right for Kane and England. Hart said: “The optimism is  really high. But it’s backed by tournament performances, by guys who play at such a high level, repeatedly winning trophies.

“The players put themselves under that pressure because they’re elite.

“When you say ‘under pressure’, it sounds like a negative. But it’s a  positive. It’s a buzz.

“It’s why they’re are playing at this level, because they can handle it.

“They’ll say they feel like they’re going to win because that’s how they are, that’s how they’re built. I don’t see the harm in that.

“Sometimes you fall short. But it’s not through lack of effort, preparation, lack of desire or belief. There’s just millions of people around Europe who are trying to do the same thing.”

JOE HART will be part of the BBC team in Germany.  Coverage of Uefa Euro 2024 will be available across BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, Radio, BBC Sounds and online.

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