Joe Hart Should Be Retained by Manchester City and Made the No. 1 Keeper

Craig FarrellCorrespondent IApril 27, 2010

LONDON - JANUARY 27:  Joe Hart of Birmingham City organizes his defence during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Birmingham City at Stamford Bridge on January 27, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)
Phil Cole/Getty Images

Shay Given will miss his first Premier League game this season for Manchester City. He will also miss his first Premier League minute.

That's right, the Irish No.1 has played every single minute of Manchester City's 35 league games this campaign.

City's keeper suffered an injury to his left shoulder, which is a recurrence of the same injury he suffered while at Newcastle.

Given will miss the rest of the season and may need surgery on his left shoulder, yet again.

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini attempted to recall Young Player of Year nominee Joe Hart from Birmingham City, but failed.

Shay Given has been one of the most consistent and trustworthy goalkeepers in the Premier League over the last decade.

Since joining Man City in 2009, Given has already made 50 appearance for the Citizens and has established himself as a fan favourite.

But Man City need to pass the torch over to young Joe Hart, or risk losing a future England No. 1.

Joe Hart has showcased his ability all season long at Birmingham City, and the young 23-year-old is almost a certainty to make it on a plane to South Africa in the summer.

Hart's performances this year has caught the eye of many managers, which quickly turned to suitors.

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish has spoken praise for the young English keeper and has said he hopes he can keep Hart at the club.

Arsene Wenger is also rumoured to be closely monitoring Joe Hart, and is said to be lining up a bid for him in the summer.

Everyone at Arsenal, with the exception of Manuel Almunia, would welcome a goalkeeper of Joe Hart's quality at Emirates Stadium next season.

Shay Given's career is far from over. At 34 years old, Given still has, possibly, another four to five years of play in him, but can Man City take the risk of selling Joe Hart and then losing Given to another shoulder injury in the future?

It is unlikely that Joe Hart would be willing to remain at Eastlands as a backup to City's current No. 1 goalie.

Good goalkeepers are hard to come by in football, and quality goalkeepers are even rarer, especially at such a young age.

If Hart was to remain injury-free he could offer Man City 12 to 15 years of great service.

A price can not be put on that at the highest level in football. Just ask Arsene Wenger or Alex Ferguson.

Both Arsenal and Manchester United are in the market to find a new player to play between their sticks.

Alex Ferguson said one of his biggest mistakes in football was not properly replacing Peter Schmeichel after he left Old Trafford.

Can Man City play with fire when it comes to the future of a player who plays one of, if not the most, important positions in the game?

Financially, Man City is in a position where they have no need to sell Joe Hart, and it is only a matter of time before he is the regular net-minder for this English National side.

How much is a future England No. 1, who has 15 years of service to offer, worth?


Shay Given is a great talent, but Joe Hart is too good for Manchester City to allow him to walk away.